Billion Dollar Bully?

Yelp is getting some more negative attention, this time from Prost Productions and Director/Producer Kaylie Milliken. Her Kickstarter campaign describes Billion Dollar Bully as “a documentary on marketing giant Yelp’s $3.6 billion racket against small business owners.” 

This isn’t the first time Yelp’s been under fire for business practices that some describe as bullying.

Do subscribe to Yelp’s advertising campaigns?  What’s been YOUR experience?  Please comment below.

More Complaints About Yelp Advertising Practices

yelpreport

http://6abc.com/archive/9528445/

This isn’t the first we’ve heard about Yelp allegedly targeting small businesses – sadly, it’s not likely to be the last.  The BBB currently gives them A+ status – even with 1400+ complaints!

So, the claim is that you’re penalized if you don’t advertise.

But – what if you DO advertise?

Here’s an example of a complaint and Yelp’s reply:

Dear *******,

Thank you for writing. We are glad to have this opportunity to address your concerns.

You expressed concern with the results of your Yelp advertising program. You signed up for 500 ad impressions plus video hosting for the price of $315 per month, with a 12-month commitment period. During the 8 months that ads have been running for Inspiring Hands Therapeutic Massage, 1/3 of the traffic received has come as a result of clicks on the ads that you paid for. Additionally, when you were using the Call to Action feature, which provided a link for customers to click to make an appointment, 19 clicks were received. You can view a monthly breakdown of your User Views and Customer Leads on the landing page of your Business Account.

All in all, the ad program is doing precisely what it was intended to do. It has increased your exposure with a relevant audience and provided you with opportunities to convert traffic into customers (the CTA feature being one of these tools).

If you would like to cancel your program, please send a written cancellation notice to your account manager before the 15th of the month. If you choose to cancel before the end of your commitment period, an early termination fee of $930 will be assessed. 

Regards,
*****
Yelp, Inc. – See more at: http://www.bbb.org/greater-san-francisco/business-reviews/internet-services/yelpcom-in-san-francisco-ca-193927/complaints#sthash.RQiuShox.dpuf

 

So let’s do the math –

8 months X $315 = $2,520

$2,520 / 19 clicks = $132.63 per click.  And then there’s the $930 “Early Termination Fee”.  That sure would have bought a lot of other kinds of advertising.

Darned if you do – Darned if you don’t.  🙁

The good news is – Yelp isn’t the only way to get honest reviews that help your business.  Need advice?  Just ask.

Google Places Reviews: How to Get Them and How to Respond to Them

[box color=”navy-mute” type=”round” icon=”caution”]UPDATE: Google is now merging Maps, Places and Google+ into what they’re calling “Google+ Local”, so all features can be found in one place.[/box]

Online Reviews

Your business’ Google Places listing is an integral part of your online reputation, and is an invaluable tool when it comes to the Internet marketing of your business.  One essential factor that contributes to the success (or lack thereof) of your Google Places listing is customer reviews.  In order to make the most out of your Google Places listing, you should have plenty of relevant, high-quality customer reviews.  How do you handle the reviews aspect of your Google Places listing?  Here are some tips for how to get and respond to Google Places reviews. Continue reading Google Places Reviews: How to Get Them and How to Respond to Them

How to Leave a Review Using New Google + Pages

[box color=”purple-vibrant” type=”round” icon=”caution”]UPDATE: Google is now merging Maps, Places and Google+ into what they’re calling “Google+ Local”, so all features can be found in one place.[/box]

Google’s recent announcement of the absorption of Google Places into Google + Local sent a flurry of panic throughout the Internet business community.  After all, Google Places was known for being a very powerful tool for businesses concerned with reaching the web crowd.  Fortunately, adapting to the new Google + format is relatively simple, and customers can still leave reviews quickly and painlessly.  Here is a brief rundown of how to leave a review using new Google + Pages: Continue reading How to Leave a Review Using New Google + Pages