The Yelp Conundrum
The Wall Street Journal recently had a story about Joe Hadeed. He runs a carpet cleaning business in Virginia. Joe said "no thank you" to a Yelp rep who wanted to sell him advertising. Whereupon, Joe suddenly got nasty reviews of his service after many positive ones. The reviewers were anonymous—maybe customers, more likely not. From the story:
Following the rash of negative Yelp reviews, business sank 30 percent in 2012, Mr. Hadeed says. Last year, Hadeed cleaned just 20,000 carpets, down from 29,000 in 2011. Revenue fell to $9.5 million from $12 million in 2011. Mr. Hadeed said the business has let 80 workers go and sold six trucks, reducing its fleet to 54.
The Federal Trade Commission has received more than 2,046 complaints filed about Yelp from 2008 through March 4, according to data reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, following a Freedom of Information Act request. Yelp shares fell 5.7 percent in Wednesday trading, after the tally was posted on FTC.gov.
Takeaways to Consider
- Yelp is nuts to allow masked strangers to endanger the website.
- This seeming extortion hurts the reputation and value of Yelp.
- Readers of my columns are invited to comment. Some sign off with fictitious handles that cannot be traced. All are published, with the exception of libel, porn, etc.
- I prefer real people whom I can write and thank for commenting.
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