The lawsuit against Yelp has been dismissed, again. But are they really not guilty?
Over the years numerous lawsuits have been filed against Yelp and we have posted a few articles about them here on our website, but none of them have ever resulted in a decision against Yelp. This one was a class-action lawsuit claiming they were extorting small businesses by demanding money for them to show positive reviews, instead it was claimed they were showing mostly the negative ones.
The reason is was dismissed? Not enough evidence.
Well they never talked to us! We could probably give them a list of 20 businesses that we have personally visited with that all claimed that Yelp had demanded that they, “buy our marketing program in order to show more positive reviews.” We can’t tell you how angry people get when discussing their experience with working with Yelp!
There is still a lawsuit by the investors of Yelp into the practices of the management of the company in using these tactics, but that is still ongoing. Maybe something will finally come out in that case. It is our opinion that this is one of the most egregious companies out there that is in a very powerful position to misuse its influence to make money from businesses large and small.
In an interesting article by WebProNews.com, they do a fairly detailed analysis of the entire situation. They also point to some of the tactics used by people involved in the reputation industry and how some of them are getting paid to leave positive reviews for businesses, one even claiming he is paid $200 for every positive review. We have found that to be true.
One of the things we do is look at who has left reviews on a business and analyze the track record of those reviews: date, time, distance from each other, etc. Many times there is a very distinguishable pattern happening with these reviews. If we find reviews that are done on the same day hundreds of miles apart, it’s easy to see that these are not legitimate reviews. If we see the same type of review done for the same type of company (for example both are auto dealers) that can also be highly suspicious. If we see reviews that have a picture of a sexy girl giving the review as their photo, that is an instant red flag. There are many more things that can be quite obvious upon a casual examination of the reviewer.
All of this leads to the obvious conclusion that reviews are a powerful influence on business today. Reviews have literally become the single most important thing in marketing any business. When something so powerful is misused in any way, it taints the picture for everyone regarding the legitimacy and usability of the tactic. We are certain that somewhere down the road there will be a restricted or legitimized way to make sure that every review is real and can be trusted. Until that time, every business must take great care about the entire review process of their business.
The 5StarMax Reputation Management review system is something that any business can use to make sure that customers are properly taken care of and the issues are dealt with, while not breaking any terms of service of any review site. Our system relies upon real legitimate users, customers, clients, patients (or whatever else you want to call them) and makes it easy for them to leave a positive review on any review site like Google, Yelp, Merchant Circle, Manta, Kudzu, etc.
We make it easy for businesses to acquire reviews in a multiple ways by using android tablets, postcards, business cards, letters, emails, website links, QR codes, etc.
One of the biggest complaints that businesses have is that their customers just don’t leave reviews about them. Our system makes it very easy for them to do so. If it is a positive review they are encouraged to leave that same review on one of the major directories and all they have to do is click one button to take them to the right place. Once they get there all they have to do is click one button and it will copy everything that they have said and place it on the new directory location. Some of these sites require them to sign in with an account, and others allow them to leave it anonymously. This has changed several times over the past couple of years for a variety of reasons.
Negative reviews are handled in an entirely different way. A video will pop up of the owner expressing his concern regarding their experience and urging them to contact the owner, front office or salesperson they dealt with. In reality, an email has already been sent to the owner regarding the issue and they can call and deal with it on the spot. This powerful tool has been used multiple times to save a customer and prevent negative reviews from being posted. We’ve even had some customers who were so impressed that the business actually cared about them, that they have changed reviews that they had posted about them.
The most important asset any business has is its customers and by saving one customer and one negative review, it can result in dozens, hundreds or even thousands of additional customers.