Yelp, which bills itself as a Web 2.0 review site powered by real people giving real reviews, recently faced charges by San Francisco businesses that Yelp employees were strong arming them for better review placement in exchanges for goods and sponsorship deals. It would seem according to a story today at the Chicago Tribune that the practice isn’t just restricted to San Francisco. Apparently some Chicago businesses are accusing Yelp representatives of approaching them to re-arrange the company’s positive and negative reviews in exchange for those same type of advertising and sponsorship deals.
Ina Pinkney of Ina’s restaurant in the West Loop said that last summer a Yelp salesperson offered to “move up my good reviews if I sponsored one of their events. They called it rearranging my reviews.”
The owner of More Cupcakes, Patty Rothman, said that last fall a Yelp Chicago staffer walked into her Gold Coast shop and “guaranteed us good reviews on the site if we catered one of their parties for free.” Offended but resigned, Rothman complied. And just as promised, positive reviews bloomed for the business right after the party, Rothman said.
Source: Chicago Tribune
Gee…. I wonder what happened to the whole Web 2.0 and social media ethos of warm and fuzzy we’re in this altogether for the consumer ideology. As usual money trumps ethos I guess.