As some of you may already know this morning I was under the influence of Nitrous Oxide in a dentist chair. Before I headed off to oblivion I got into a discussion about local Web marketing with my dentist and his assistant.  His assistant relayed the following story about a doctor she knows in San Diego (I may have lost something in the translation as when it comes to laughing gas I am a 60%er):

A teenage patient wrote a bad review of the doctor on Yelp and you know how teenagers can be.  But because the teenager had a lot of friends on Yelp and wrote a lot of reviews, her review went to the top and stayed there.  And the other good reviews disappeared.  Yelp called him to ask if he wanted to advertise and he said only if they can get rid of the bad review.  They said they couldn’t do that.

To which my dentist replied:

What’s Yelp?

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5 Response Comments

  • Tim Coleman  April 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Yelp has a strange business model. They want to provide a service for consumers and have small business pay for it. It is just an inherent conflict of interest.

    I don’t think consumer reports would have a lot of credibility if it accepted advertising.

    Unless of course, I was under the influence of nitrous oxide 🙂

    Angie’s list seems to make the most sense, but it runs into the whole paid subscriber problem.

    Somewhere in between the 2 is an opportunity, I’m just not smart enough to figure it out.

  • Andrew Shotland  April 29, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    At InsiderPages we were always asked the same question. Bottom line is if you have the traffic and the brand you figure it out. I am sure there are plenty of businesses willing to buy more traffic from Yelp, conflict of interest and all.

  • Chris Reilly  April 29, 2010 at 4:03 pm


    I laugh because it hurts. One bad review from a person that didn’t even do business with one of my customers has been stuck on Yelp for MONTHS and it has had a strikingly negative impact on their business. We’ve been through everything on the planet to try to get the review removed and get more reviews, it is just a painful process that is taking forever.

    All they REALLY need to do is fix their algorithm, that is the heart of most every Yelp complaint ever made. It clearly favors Yelp Elite too much.

  • l mehl  October 14, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Looks like a conflict of interest for Yelp between being a restaurant reviewer and selling Yelp Deals.

  • Joe  June 14, 2012 at 2:20 am

    When I think of Yelp, the words ‘digital extortion’ comes to mind when thinking about their business model. They drag businesses into a fight they didn’t asked for and allow competitors to anonymously slander just about anyone they want.

    I often ask myself, why would someone spend the time and type in a review? Unless they are pissed off right? If a business met my expectations, why would go through all the hassle to write something obvious, unless I was motivated anything but happy.

    This leads to another question, how real are the positive reviews? I believe over 40% are fake.