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Yelp Sucks the Life out of Small Business

yelpAs business owners, we hesitate to post anything negative about someone else’s organization. However, after diligently trying to make Yelp work for us, we feel obligated to share our negative experience, in the hopes that others may learn from our mistakes and refuse to play the Yelp ad game.

In 2012, we were curious about Yelp. So we contacted a sales rep to inquire about advertising. Although the rep was extremely reluctant to share prices (which is odd, considering the fact we needed to know how much Yelp advertising would cost), we finally received a hefty quote of $450 per month with a six-month minimum contract. We negotiated that rate down to $350 per month and were eager to see how the Yelp program would provide leads for My Cleaning Lady Referral Agency.

Even at the start, we were disappointed with the results of the campaign and contacted our sales rep numerous times to ask for suggestions about maximizing the ad buy. The agent assigned to our account after we signed the contract was extremely difficult to reach…far more so than the one whose job it had been to sell us the program in the first place.

Numerous emails and phone calls finally led us to the original sales gal, who suggested we ask clients to write honest reviews. So, when clients praised the efforts of our domestic referral agency and associated housekeeping services, we encouraged them to click on Yelp and write reviews. Finding people who were eager to review was not difficult, as we have a 99% customer satisfaction rating.

After paying $2,150 over our six-month contract and realizing only a slight bump in Yelp profile views, new website traffic and very few new customers booked, we decided not to renew the contract. It just didn’t make good business sense to continue to pay $150 per lead for advertising with Yelp when other methods produced far better results.

After fulfilling the contract, we canceled and, at the time, had a Yelp profile with nine visible, positive reviews. So it struck us as odd when shortly after cancelling our ad-buy, six out of our nine reviews mysteriously disappeared into the Yelp Filter. Our efforts to contact a Yelp sales rep about the filter were frustrating because no one would return our calls or emails except to say “we do not provide customer service for free accounts.”

Finally, we reached someone who told us to write to Feedback@Yelp.com. The auto-reply was a description of the filter, along with a note explaining that they “cannot do anything to retrieve reviews out of the Yelp Filter.”

Anyone who owns a business understands that it is virtually impossible to provide 100% customer satisfaction. But when we drop the ball, we do our best to make things right. And we have a very high approval rating as a result of this commitment to superior customer service. So it is extremely frustrating that our reviews on Yelp do not reflect this philosophy. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to ascertain that something is fishy about the correlation between Yelp ad campaign cancellations and disappearing positive reviews.

But don’t just take our word for it. Here is a small sampling of links posted by other business owners who are dissatisfied with Yelp business practices:

Huffington Post Top 9 Reasons You Can’t Always Trust Yelp

Yelp Sucks Twitter Profile

Yelp Sucks.com

Yelp Filters Reviews

Yelp Sucks on Yelp

Yelp Sucks Survival Guide

Why Yelp Sucks

Please feel free to share your own Yelp experience with us. We don’t pretend to do everything right 100% of the time. But if we drop the ball, we will do our best to make the situation right. So if you could use some help cleaning your home, give My Cleaning Lady Referral Agency a call. We would love to help you realize your housecleaning-related resolutions. The house cleaners we refer offer complete home cleaning services including thorough dusting at reasonable prices.

My Cleaning Lady Referral Agency proudly serves Arcadia, Chino, Chino Hills, Duarte, Ontario, Pomona, LaVerne, Covina, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Montclair, Claremont, Phillips Ranch, Upland, West Covina, Glendora, San Dimas, and Sierra Madre. Visit http://www.mycleaninglady.com/ call (909) 593-6690 for information or to arrange a free estimate.