20-Apr-2012 (Fri) Wherein Yelp continues to suck.

Oh Yelp, why can't we quit you.

Every now and then someone will post a Yelp review related to one of our various parties or businesses and we would like to publicly respond to it. Yelp has decided that they won't let you do that unless your business account has a human face as its avatar: no logos allowed. And they apparently employ an army of underpaid outsourced schmucks to enforce this by actually looking at and flagging every uploaded photo.

Of course they don't enforce this on all accounts, oh no. There's a logo instead of a face for Starbuck's, Best Buy, the ballpark... But when we have our staff meeting and six of us sit around and collectively formulate our official response, they insist that our company have the wrong face attached before we can publish it.

After weeks of trying, Barry finally managed to get a Yelp ad rep on the phone to complain about this -- basically saying, "I'm going to buy ads with you as soon as you fix this" -- and her response was to rant at length about how much it sucks to work at Yelp now, and how she can't get anything done.

    "So, I want to give you money if you fix this, and you're saying you can't?"

    "That's right. I can't fix it. You're not the only person who wants this, and your not the only person whose business I've lost over it. My employer is making it impossible for me to do my job."

Well played, Yelp! Well played.

Honestly, I wish there was a way for us to just opt out of Yelp entirely. It is far more of a pain in the ass than a benefit, in every way. I would even pay them to ensure that when you search for my businesses' names, you got a 404.

Sadly they do not offer that service, either.

Update: Don't miss part 2 of this story!

8 Responses:

  1. Chad says:

    have a microscopic picture of your dna. that technically would be a photo of you

    • Juha Autero says:

      Which part of "army of underpaid outsourced schmucks to enforce this" you did not understand? I would rather try to convince them that DNA Lounge logo actually *is* the face of your PR person by sending them photoshopped images of employee meetings, graduation picture, driving license etc.

  2. filbert says:

    because of yelp's seo-fu, they still remain "useful" as a source for finding a link to a business's actual website (which is what you were looking for at google but it's buried at result 736 or so). and occasionally hours of operation. aside from that and the diminishingly small fraction of the population that writes reviews about themselves instead of the bar they were at, does anybody at all use yelp anymore? yelp reviews are a close third in insipid unreadability behind youtube comments and "thanks for the add"s littering the corpse of myspace.

    • Tom Lord says:

      Well, filbert, yeah. They are basically the web's yellow pages. The "review" system has two side effects: users give away free labor to keep the listings up-to-date; and yelp sales staff, enabled by engineering, has some schemes to get money from some vendors.

      What I noticed about DNA pizza reviews is the 1-star ones. Whenever I bother to read reviews at all I might read one maybe two good ones -- but it's worth really checking out the lousy reviews. When a place has a handful of lousy reviews that all seem to be from people who -- even just in what they manage to write in a yelp review -- sound deeply confused about the form and function of day to day reality.... when that's the nature of your negative reviews .... that's usually a good sign.

    • LafinJack says:

      People don't go there anymore, it's too popular.

    • Ben Brockert says:

      Yes. I don't like that I rely on Yelp to find nearby restaurants, but I do because I haven't found any better options.

    • Brian B says:

      Well, Xeni Jardin used Yelp reviews to find a mammogram clinic that wouldn't treat her like shit. Considering that it turned out not to be a one-and-done event, that was an important call.

  3. Viqsi says:

    Yeah, I'm late to this, but on reading it a thought came to mind. Yelp seems to be trying really really hard to be "social" like everything else nowadays. And that means people connecting with people, not with faceless corporate entities. But since they're a small startup, they can't actually go to war with folks like Starbucks on this policy because they will be crushed like ants. But by G-d Almighty they sure can go to war with everyone ELSE over these hard-defended principles they want so badly to enforce upon the world. And thus are useless inconsistent policies created.Whenever I have ideas like that, I file them under "when I take over the world", and make humorous reference to them now and again. Making them corporate policy seems to me to be a tad broken.

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