What’s going on with Yelp?
Yelp has been a powerful force when it comes to helping people find out about the quality of services that businesses offer. For years, Yelp has arguably been the leading customer review-oriented website of our time and certainly one of the most recognizable. Yelp has been the source for millions of people to check out customer reviews on all types of businesses.
However, there have been allegations that Yelp has been using its position to entice small businesses to pay for advertising using unethical methods. While all businesses at some point will be charged with unethical behavior whether true or not, the allegations against Yelp have been growing over the past few years with lawsuits having been filed.
The Case against Yelp
One lawsuit that’s been filed against Yelp stands as an example of just how the review were filtered to push small businesses into paying for advertising. In this particular case, a small business owner had several five-star reviews from customers and was reaping the rewards to his business when he was approached by Yelp to pay for advertising. When he refused, several of five star reviews disappeared and a one star review quickly appeared.
His business dropped by 30% as a result, so he took his case to court. Perhaps it was the only case or accusation of this type made, it could be dismissed as an anomaly. There are other accusations which demonstrates a disturbing pattern for businesses who do not “play ball” with Yelp in terms of paying for advertising.
However, it must be noted that what makes this case even worse is that the court ruled that Yelp has the perfect right to arrange and sequence reviews. This means that if you get on the wrong side of Yelp, they will rearrange the reviews so that your business suffers if you don’t bow to their demands. Whatever the legality, this is an unethical practice that makes Yelp an untrustworthy source for consumers since manipulation is part of Yelp’s game.
Pros and Cons for business on Yelp
Pros: Yelp has an estimate 138 million unique visitors and more than 80,000 active business accounts. The pros for being on Yelp are that you get traffic to your site, your business will get found online and it might help ranking of your site. Another word, great for SEOs.
Of those 138 million visitors, 80% of them said they are ready to spend money. 98% of those users make a purchase at a business they found on Yelp and 90% make that purchase within a week.
Your business will get incredible amount of leads and conversions.
Cons: If you are one of those business that gets a lot of positive reviews, yelp has the “right” to bury them down and show only your poor 1 star reviews. If this rating is hurting your business, you should consider advertising with them.
Keep in mind that even if you don’t advertise but have a free business account on Yelp, you attribute about $8,000 in their annual revenue.
Each business that advertises on Yelp attributes about $23,000 annual revenue. This means that the typical local advertisers are spending $350 a month, $4200 annually.
What should businesses do about Yelp reviews?
This is one aspect where your business values will come into place. It's money vs moral. If Yelp brings you customers, you advertise with them, it could be the best $4200 marketing dollars you ever spend. But if you don't advertise with them, your business might suffer but you're not bowing to their unethical demands.
Want to know how well your marketing is working? Unless you are tracking every call, it’s a little bit of a guessing game. We have a tracking system which tells us how many calls you got, we can listen to the calls and give you and your team coaching on how to transform those callers into cases. With true ROI information you’ll know where to spend money effectively, and you can finally tell the Yellow Pages and Yelp to take a hike.
Mitro Digital Marketing is an online reputation management company on the Outer Banks, NC. We help business build a 5 star rating online, manage and market online reviews to get more customers. Give us a call today for a free copy of your reputation report and score at (252) 202-0981.