Posts Tagged ‘Yelp’

This past week yelp changed a few things, they no longer filer reviews!

But before you get too excited, they now “Recommend” and “Highlight” reviews, while they  have other “reviews currently not recommended.” But.. You can NOW click through to this reviews that are not currently recommended,  without having to enter a captcha!

“Yahoooooo!… No Captcha!

Wait there’s more, the “NOT RECOMMENDED” reviews are now sorted from low to high stars… AND they have a new video!!!

yelp-not-recommended-review-filter

Highlight reel from Yelp’s New Video

Yelp-recommendation-software

(hmmm…. EVERY review? But what about the businesses that trip a review filter that causes their reviews to pass a different standard…???)

Yelp-Fake-Reviewer-filter

Wow… Not sure where to go with this one since Nick B. in Austin is so obviously fake, yet he’s reviews only got filtered for a “Bridal Company”. Check out this thread to see how many Yelper’s agree that Nick’s review should be filtered >>> Austin Pest Control Reviews on Yelp

Yelp Testing Carousel Layout

Apparently I was one of the lucky 1% to see Yelp’s new layout. But I did find a way for you to see it yourself… CLICK HERE! 

Yelp-New-layout-carousel

The page is wider. The font is larger. The “Competitor Companies” on the right are pushed further down. The reviewer images are bigger. They encourage users to add photos, for better or worse. What I surely don’t like is that they have distorted the video image by taking a landscape layout and squished it into a square. It would be ideal if I could select the image to show in the video box… even worse is this:

Video-Yelp-Broken

They have also eliminated a few options, like bookmarking and linking to a review. They moved the compliments, messages, and follows to the left and only visible upon scrolling over them.

Yelp-new-design2

I give the new design a 3 star rating… nothing to be too excited about, but not too bad either. Still don’t like the review filter even if Yelp has changed the name to “Not Recommended”. And I am still not happy about the number of fake reviewers that Yelp knowing permits to remain on their system. Yes… KNOWINGLY permit. I’ve reached out to the uppers at yelp and they have assured me that this user and others like him are being looked into. But they have been aware of him since I first reported it over 2 months ago. Here is Luther with Yelp responding…

If anyone wants the details on the fake review network that yelp isn’t doing anything about, ping me. I’ve got a pretty little spreadsheet I can share with you.

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I updated my Google+ App on my iPhone and found this..

Google Plus Checkin for iPhones

Google Plus Check-Ins

I have never know google to not use information they collect to better their search results. I foresee Google+ checkins becoming a major part of Google’s Local Search algorithm. The Google+ Check In will add the user data that google is craving to make search results relevant to users. Google places has come a long way. At one time Google scrapped the internet trying to create it’s local directory. They abused Yelp trying to add in reviews. They indexed foursquare to make sure the results were relevant. Now they have their own system to do all this themselves. From reviews to location data, Google+ answers the local directory call.

Can Google+ capture the foodies?  As for the foodies, I am not sure, but I do believe Google has the means and drive to eventually beat down Yelp and Foursquare. While Yelp will have a long life and will still hold on to much of it’s elite foodie following, the annoyance and frustration from both businesses and the non-elite users will erode Yelp’s base. But what do I know.. I am just a pest control guy.

The good the bad and the ugly… Batman Smells… Or at least stinks at Reputation Management20121221-091434.jpg

Jingle Bells… Batman smells…

We all know that Batman has been stinking it up for years! Well the caped crusader has had enough of these shenanigans. It has finally gotten to him and he has taken action.

POW!

Whack!

Batman’s Christmas Reputation Management

Who knows when it happened, or even why. Perhaps it was innocent enough. Maybe Batman had a long rough day and really did smell.. But does one bad deed warrant this onslaught of Christmas Caroling abuse? I think not. Think of all the good deeds he has done. I have another very good source that confirms he is on the “Nice List”. Perhaps his foes are secretly chanting this tune below the dark of night to bring Batman crumbling down! And YOU… YOU take part of it every time you make mention to this fake Ripped OFF Jingle Reprise. Your curiosity is helping the bad guys win! Darn you unbiased algorithm that wants diversified results without checking your facts, or at least giving the poor Batman a gold star rating where legitimate first account individuals can attest to Batman’s overall stinkage. I know that Batman could easily overcome some of this if he would just list his location, but there are some negatives in his case for giving away his whereabouts. So for good reason, his secret lair remains unlisted. But that is no excuse for the this abuse…. PLEASE ISN’T THERE ANYONE OVER THERE THAT CARES?

So Smacking Your Side Kick Around May Not Be An Appropriate Response…

I must say, you would think that Batman was above smacking Robin around, but an identity is being crushed here.. And even a super hero has a breaking point. One can sympathize with Batman’s frustration. I mean, how does one go about retracting unwritten lyrics? How can Batman even begin to fight a foe that he does not know? One that hides behind the singing mouths of innocent children… Batman finally let it get to him and let loose on poor Robin. Heck, Robin freaking laid an egg… Maybe it was Robin’s fault that Batman was even in the mess. Maybe his association with Robin, and Robin’s guilt in laying the stinky egg, has destroyed Batman. But smacking Robin around for it, probably isn’t going to win back the hearts of the masses. Really, Batman just needs to take a breath and find a real online reputation management company. A company that perhaps could right this whole thing by weaving a magical jingle of their own that replaces the bells of yesterday.

For all of you onlookers… STOP

Stop and consider the damage you maybe causing Batman before singing that verse. Stop and ask yourself if it really is warranted. Take advice from the cat..

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And if you need pest control don’t call Batman!… He’s not even real!

Call Bulwark Exterminating. This message is brought to from the pest control guy.

Don’t Yelp Unless You Mean It

Posted: December 17, 2012 by SteveOnTheBike in Marketing
Tags: , , ,

A Fairfax, VA woman was recently ordered to pay a fine of $750,000 after a judge ruled she not only left a fictitious review on Yelp, but that it also cost the contractor she hired north of $300,000 in lost business.

In the summer of 2011, Jane Perez hired Christopher Dietz to perform construction on her home. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong! According to Perez’s user reviews on Yelp and Angie’s List, Dietz actually damaged her home rather than repaired it. She also claims he billed her for work that he did not perform at all. Oh yeah, she also accused him of stealing jewelry because he was “the only one with a key”. And somewhere in between all that, she accused him of trespassing. And, (yes, there’s more) to top it all off, they are old high school classmates.

Dietz Development’s Yelp Profile

It’s nice to see that at least one of them graduated.

Classmates aside, the judge’s ruling poses an interesting precedent in the online review world going forward. Will more businesses try to defend themselves against what they feel are false reviews? Do they only have a legitimate defense if they can prove there are a significant amount of lost wages? What is considered admissible evidence for both parties? And what really happened in history class between Perez and Dietz?

Hind sight is always 20-20, but you have to hand it to Dietz for sticking up for himself and seeking damages. Would Dietz have sought retribution had there been no financial loss? Probably not. When it comes down to dollars, especially 300,000 of them, people will usually get serious about protecting it. It seems like the most realistic and easiest way to get rid of a negative review would be to ask the customers who actually like, and would recommend you, to write more positive reviews in order to bury the others.

At the very least a business owner should feel obligated to respond to any unfavorable post in a timely and professional manner. While that customer may have a legitimate argument, it bodes well for a business when it faces the music and appropriate, and publicly, addresses any concerns. If you’re a business, and going to compete in the big-kid world, you can’t be childish when a grumpy customer decides to throw a tantrum. Even a non-response can be viewed as more disingenuous than responding unprofessionally.

It is against rules to pay or offer incentives to customers to write positive reviews online. That certainly makes sense. If a customer is going to write a review it should be because they want to share their experience with your company, for better or worse. But I say business owners should be making their customers aware of their online profiles, even encouraging them to leave a review at their discretion.

As a word of advice, just assume that every single one of your customers intends to leave an online review of your business. Assume they are all Yelp addicts. Assume that right after you leave their house, or they walk out of your office, they plan on going straight to Google to leave a review on your profile. And, if you’ve never thought about it, assume that for one reason or another, their experience with your brand or employees is going to find its way on to either Facebook or Twitter. Probably both. (In fact, just right now on my Facebook timeline I spotted a picture that is going viral right now of a dentist that allowed his patient’s dog to be present in the room during the procedure. If there’s one thing I know about the animal kingdom, it’s don’t mess with dog lovers.)

But DO deal with angry Yelpers. That’s good business.

You will find the following “Consumer Alert” on yelp:

We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business. We weren’t fooled, but wanted you to know because buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Check out the evidence here. ( http://s3-media3.ak.yelpcdn.com/saphoto/RU7bd3h2f6pBlf8BfAyxGQ/o.jpg )

Clicking the link provided will take you to an image caption of the correspondence between the yelp sting operative and the company. This jeweler was offering $200 for a review, per the craigslist post they had created. And apparently they are not the only ones using this technique… per google search for “Craigslist.org Yelp review”:

Does this Yelp Penalty Affect Ranking?

Levi Jewelers still ranks #1 in the yelp search “Jeweler” from a desktop, as of today. It still shows the 5 stars and 91 reviews. ( Interesting to note that they do have 366 filtered reviews. )

When you travel to their page the consumer alert is below the fold:

The mobile version does not currently show the consumer alert whatsoever. And the yelp deal with Levi, one that pays yelp, is still active.

What is the verdict?

Honestly, I think yelp could show some more teeth here. But for the sake of making a public example of this company, I believe they are opting to keep them up. This is also a recent update and I am sure that the future versions of Yelp penalties will be modified. The email correspondence occurred beginning Oct. 11th through Oct. 13th. It appears that it was leaked to the press very quickly and thus the public relations team is getting their message out.

However, from a previous yelp broken filter blunder in which Yelp quickly reacted to remove the reviews, I feel yelp still fails to make a solid stance. Their previous blunder only called for a quick cover up, it did not remove the members who violated the guidelines. Will yelp protect the other members that the Jeweler paid off to get good reviews? Will there be a point when businesses get an advocate to combat yelpers gone wild?

Pest Control Guy Penalized on Yelp for Reviews

Rumor has it that there is a pest control guy that was caught red handed buying reviews on yelp as well. I have not been able to find this bugger. I am shocked however that a Phoenix pest control competitor of mine openly offers a credit for a yelp review on his website. It seems that this should certainly be a red flag for yelp.

“Love Us? YELP! Post a positive comment on YELP and receive $5.00 off any service. Let us know through our Contact Us page”

Apparently a yelp review is only worth $5 for pest control companies. That is a bit shy of the $200 the jeweler is offering and the $100 a restaurant in Sedona is offering.

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__________________________________________________________
SEP 04, 2012 | 02:33PM PDT
Hi Thomas,We’re writing to let you know that we’ve removed your headline “Pest Control Guy… taking care of the little things.”Our Support team has determined that it violates our Content Guidelines (http://www.yelp.com/guidelines), specifically as it relates to business owner reviews. Please note that you shouldn’t be using your user account for promotional purposes.That said, we think it’s important for businesses to be part of the conversation, and have created a suite of free tools to help business owners get the most out of Yelp. By unlocking your listing and creating a Business Owners Account, you can:
- Communicate with your customers via private message or public comment
- Track the User Views on your business page
- Add photos and a detailed description of your business
- Convert Yelp users into customers by posting a Yelp Deal to your listingTo join the conversation, click here: http://www.yelp.com/business/unlockingRegards,
Holly
Yelp User Support
San Francisco, California

____________________________________________________________________
Dear Yelp,
Thanks for the laugh. This pest control control guy could use it on occasion. I have decided to not fight the system and am willing to change my title to “<TITLE VIOLATION> Guy… Taking Care of the little things.
…If I could just figure out how to login…

Really… Your captcha is “Conformity”? No. Really.

:)

Oh and thanks Greg for the “Pest Control Guy” in your Yelp Compliment. THAT WAS AWESOME. And to be completely clear, I am not asking my friends to add compliments with the title “pest control guy” in their comments.

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Dealing with happy customers and positive experiences which lead to wonderful online reviews is very rewarding.

But, dealing with a negative experience and the threat of a bad reviews is painful, as explained by one restaurant owner. A user of Yelp himself he finds it repulsive and revolutionary that a tool that can do so much good can be used for a weapon of extortion.

Read it hear: http://www.standard.net/stories/2012/05/30/restaurants-say-online-reviewers-exploit-their-power

I couldn’t help but leave my thoughts and comments, despite the horrid abuse or even the sometimes justified vindication users have, online reviews are changing the buying, shopping, and business world.

Online Reviews are Powerful

You give a man an inch and he takes a mile.

…but the good news for small businesses is that instead of spending $10k a month in newspaper or yellowbook advertising, they can spend time and energy impressing their clients and earning good reviews.

I know that I am just a pest control guy, but consider this, $10k a month for a full page phone book ad, now take that $10k a month and invest in improving your product or service. Bulwark did just that. We cut phonebook ads and put in back into operations and ultimately our pest control technicians’ pocket. It paid off. Instead of wasting money on advertising that no longer worked, we invested in our people and have reaped the reward.

So yes, review sites like this have a down side, but the rewards on the flip side are well worth the occasional bump.

Invest in Your Future

Investing in your product and/or your people is part of making sure your business survives. Did you know that Gillette invested six years and $750 million to develop it’s razor the Mach3? A razor. A razor that only costs buyers $6 to $10. I can’t fathom spending that kind of money on a razor. How many would they have to sell to make that back? But you know what, it worked. It was a success. The razor is phenomenal. I use it and I love it. That razor captured 20% of the razor market after it’s launch.

An old proverb about investing the future says it the best:

If you are investing for 1 year, plant corn.

If you are investing for 10 years plant trees.

If you are investing for 100 years, plant people.

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