My Open Letter To Yelp: Yelp’s Response…

Luther Lowe, Yelp’s Manager Of Local Outreach, called me a few days after I sent my open letter to their CEO.

I was very impressed that Mr. Lowe actually called me back. The last time I dealt with Yelp, it was with their sales team, whose tactics seemed straight out of Boiler Room. Mr. Lowe apologized for the experience I had and went on to explain just how and why they filter user reviews. He said that the accuracy of reviews is of primary import for Yelp and they made the decision that while they may remove valid reviews, it’s better that they be seen as a source for “real” reviews. It’s because of this that they filter people who their algorithm reads as being one-off reviewers.

He also apologized for the sales experience I had and said they would talk to my rep specifically.

The end result of the call: mixed I guess.

First of all, I respect that he called me and spent about 20 minutes on the phone with me. I understand what he meant by making sure that their reviews are above reproach and honestly, that’s what I’ve always liked about the site to begin with.

My next reaction is that he really didn’t address the sales force’s orientation towards the hard-sell. I recommended that he really change the way they sell their services as it’s unnecessarily aggressive and offensive for a product that most local businesses should be able to profit from. It didn’t seem like he had any intention of changing it though.

So, on the one hand, I was pleasantly surprised to get a call back and have more faith in Yelp but still am puzzled at their sales approach. I can’t imagine it will work for the long haul.

2 Comments on “My Open Letter To Yelp: Yelp’s Response…”

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  • malka November 12th, 2011 3:50 am

    Sadly I have had incredibly negative experiences with Yelp. As a non-regualar yelper, my few yelps were filtered. I was attempting to say kind and appreciative words about our local Napa businesses. Then my personal business was terribly slandered by an idiot Yelper that has not been filtered. I noticed that my competitor that pays for advertising on Yelpt, gets to keep all their positive Yelps with most of the negative ones filtered away. He has numerous Yelps. In the last three years, we have had many positive Yelps that have just disappeared. One has to be a regular big playing Yelper in order to be recognized by Yelp. One who has to have friends, links and lists like they are playing on a media game. Who has time for this if we are out in the world contributing positively to our community not just Yelping on our butts. I agree, I have given up on their type of business integrity and will not at all trust Yelp whether some guy phoned you. Thanks for your post.

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