Yelp is a popular "business look up" site.
Popular for those that use it, but not for many of the businesses owners who yelp has listed on their site.
It is a site where people give user reviews and rate you by the 5 star method.
Google searches this site and posts the # of reviews and your star rating. next to your link in their search engine.
1. Your listing is free and can be customized allowing you to add photos and a business description.
2. It's an extremely popular site with hundreds of thousands of users across the USA.
Because of that a business can get a fair amount of customers from that site.
3. Yelpers are hard core and trust what others are writing about you.
1. You get listed on their site without your approval.
2. Some yelpers won't give anyone a 5 star rating. They might have absolutely loved your restaurant or the service you provided and will write a wonderful review about you, but they won't give anyone that 5th star.
Well that isn't a bad thing if that 4.5 star rating was confined to Yelp.
Most Yelpers like to read the reviews and you can still get their business, but what happens when another site or search engine grabs that information?
But that lowered star rating that they give you isn't confined to Yelp's website!
Google's search bots transfer that information to your website link on their search engine, which then drops your rating to 4.75 or 4.5 stars.
And their are other internet directors that farm links and information for their site and will include your star rating and review on their site.
Now you are no longer rated equal with or better than your competitors and people who are only looking for those with the 5 star rating, pass over your link in their search for the best.
And all because someone hired you or ate at your restaurant and has an attitude that they are high and mighty won't bestow 5 stars on anyone, short of having them save their life or give them an orgasm.
Now that's just an example of what happens to when someone decides that what your doing isn't giving them an orgasm and so it doesn't deserve 5 stars.
What about the people that might have had a waiter or waitress that makes a mistake or is having a bad day for some reason?
Or the person on yelp that tries to take advantage of your services or loses in small claims court against you?
Well, they can give you a bad review and 1 star and Yelp won't stop them.
What Yelp tells you in their FAQ section, is that all you need to do, is write a rebuttal, explaining your side.
Well that might be fine for those people who only use Yelp and actually read the reviews, but Google search bots are automated to look for the stars and the word "review" (but not "rebuttal") and will still down rate your star rating.
And Google is not the only one.
Other sites that are directories farm that information, will include the first words of a review (if it's the latest) but not your rebuttal (because Yelp publishes it like a footnote).
The bottom line :
On Yelp, a business is vulnerable to whatever whim and state of emotion of the person writing the review.
Literally, right now, you can go on Yelp and see that a contractor received a 1 star rating from someone who admitted that they never used the person and gave them the rating because they don't like a commercial that they have airing.
And Yelp? Well, you have no direct way to get in contact with them.
They do not list a contact phone # and any email submissions are directed to their sales department..
Which brings me to my next point about being a business owner listed on Yelp.
3. Yelp has an extremely aggressive sales department. So aggressive that it is to the point of being obnoxious.
So aggressive, that businesses that opted not to pay for advertising on Yelp, would suddenly find negative reviews and 1 star rating on their business, given to them by "anonymous" users.
Keep in mind, that these bogus bad reviews and rating is crawled by Google and posted next to their web site listing in the search engine.
Some people have also written when they didn't buy a plan, that their positive reviews disappeared on Yelp, dropping them in Yelps rankings.
It is so serious, that there is now a class action lawsuit against Yelp over their business practices.
And if you want to have Yelp remove you?
Sorry, they can't be done and they won't do it.
Although, I believe that might change if Yelp loses the class action lawsuit against them.
As a business owner, Yelp would only get 2 stars from me.
And I hope if they lose this lawsuit against them, that I will be able to opt out of there.
And I'm a highly rated and reviewed business on that site.