Why I Hate Yelp

by Nick Nichols, 5-Star Online Reputation Marketing Expert

Fake reviews – especially defamatory fake reviews – have gotten out of hand. I have a client who is a victim of ongoing virtual stalking where it appears that the “perp” has hired people to post blatantly false negative reviews about my client on Yelp and other sites.

Recently I read an article by an attorney titled, "4 legal responses to negative reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor and others."

As the author of two books about online reputation management and in helping dozens of clients repair their online reputations, my experience is that Mr. Cook’s first suggestion, “Report false comments to the platform,” rarely – if ever – works. Despite their stated public policies to the contrary, the review portals – especially Yelp – are indifferent to policing the validity of their reviews. I have responses from Yelp personnel that prove this.

I, too, recommend posting measured rebuttals where possible and, of course, I recommend building and maintaining a 5–star reputation to offset any negative reviews. But Mr. Cook’s tip #4 to "Send a cease and desist letter or file a defamation lawsuit" is simply not practical for most small businesses. And why should a business have to prove they are innocent anyway?

I’m usually not a fan of governmental regulation but it seems that unless Congress passes legislation that puts the burden on the review sites to validate the identity of reviewers, this problem will only get worse.

The best way to counteract negative review listings is to create videos containing your positive reviews and post them on YouTube. Properly formatted with an eye-catching thumbnail, YouTube video thumbnail listings can appear when someone searches for your name or your company name and “reviews.” I have placed video clips above Yelp and other negative listings to offset and neutralize the effects of Yelp reviews. Contact me for details.