Portland Business Owner Complains Yelp Skews Reviews

Comments

1
Octavian Jurj, isn't he the new Bond villain?
2
People on Portland's Yelp Talk have had the most irritating circlejerk going for years now.
3
So I went the the Yelp page and The owners of this Tilt place sound insane in their long rant/responses to the one star reviews. Even if the reviews are from competing businesses, and even if Yelp is the modern web mafia, responding like Tilt did on a public website is pretty unprofessional. Yelp is probably a bit crooked, but did you read the responses from the Tilt Yelp page. eeesh
4
I would put really good money on this being the truth about Yelp. I ran a business that was top rated in it's category, got some sales calls, talked to a rep and got the skinny on what "sponsored" business, which is in the ballpark of $300-500 a month. Too much for me to afford, so I passed. Well, pretty soon a good 3/4 of my solid 5 star reviews started to get filtered, and a competitor who opted for the paid service (I knew this because their paid above-the-fold placement always popped up over my listing) had more like 1/4 filtered. Yelp is essentially garbage, but then again so are most online user-review sites.
5
Generally if the reviewer has less than 10 or so overall reviews, you'll see their stuff get filtered if they don't review enough places. It's damn strange, though, that the reviews by Emily and Evan were filtered. Emily has plenty of reviews and Evan has tons of linked friends on the site. That should be enough to count them as legit.

Yelp will also filter reviews if its algorithm thinks that reviews have been induced -- such as a bunch of positive reviews in a short period of time. They tell owners Yelp doesn't want them encouraging people to review their places that it should be more organic.

This is bullshit, though. Yelp encourages owners to offer special deals and people to check-in for special deals. They also have events at restaurants, which is of course going to encourage this. But in that case there's more of a quid pro quo (give us free shit and show us a good time and THEN we can give you good reviews en masse) than if an owner just tweets or sends out an email requesting people review them.

Yelp should get rid of the star ratings. Most of the abuse happens because of them, on both sides.
6
Reject
Eileen c
2:59 am on Saturday, November 10, 2012
Jeremy Stoppelman CEO of Yelp.com is a real winner. Well, no, not really. This man runs a company that not only thrives on negative attention, but refuses to respond to legitimate concerns.
I am not sure how he can sleep at night knowing that he is running such a joke of a company.
You can see here that you're one of thousands of people who feel the same way you do:,
http://m.yelp.com/biz/yelp-san-francisco
7
I've talked to Yelp about their horrible algorithm. I wouldn't be surprised if it actually was some form of extortion. Anecdotal example:

I noticed a local bar and grill had gotten panned. The damning reviews were all whining about how a particular KJ got treated that one time -- not the food, or the service, or the drinks, but a slighted KJ. I wrote a favorable review for the joint, hoping it'd average in... but no, it got dumped because of the algorithm. I told Yelp they needed to tweak the algorithm. After several months I popped back by the review -- no change.

I'm skeptical about the value of crowd-sourcing reviews anyhow, but Yelp's added B.S. with the "algorithm" makes it a useless site.
8
What kind of a person trusts a complete stranger's opinion when it comes to food?
9
There could be something true in any press being good. I have a trip to Portland coming the end of the month and I definitely plan to check out
10
I think he has a valid complaint. Also, many of the people who write yelp reviews are somewhat odious and seem to believe they occupy a much higher social and economic strata than they do. The "look at me" phenomenon. Also, there are quite a few idiots on there...who in the hell reviews fast food places?
11
Any business should set expectations in the customer's mind then exceed them. Tilt branded itself as food for the "American workforce" setting an expectation of lower prices. In fact their prices are in line with other mid-high burger spots, but they set the wrong expectation.

Ad supported papers and websites generally give fawning reviews of eateries. They run ads from those eateries. Expecting Yelp/ Urbanspoon/ Google reviews from ordinary people to be 100% positive is a mistake.
12
I own Fat Kitty Falafel and am the SMALLEST biz around. Yelp is like the TMZ of food reviewing. And they call like said in some of the above posts. A lot. From different area codes too. Mostly from 415. It's like NetZero when they started charging, suck you in for nothing and then they try and extract by pestering you. I just got another paper letter w/the sticker from Yelp saying I'm cool. It's moot w/me. Too many good local food and indy sites that are more real and BLOW them away. Telemarketer extortionists!
13
As far as "what kind of a person trusts a complete stranger's opinion when it comes to food," unfortunately, lots of people. That's why Yelp's model is all kinds of fucked.

I try to remind otherwise-reasonable people that Yelp somehow seems to have gotten only entirely negative or entirely positive reviews, no so-so reviews, and that suggests that it's not an especially accurate way to judge a business in advance. But of course; in lieu of having a friend / reviewer who you don't find stupid to tell you, what other criteria do you have?
14
Octavian Jurj for life.
15
So, some scumbag is whining that he had a bunch of people shill for him and the reviews don't show up? And that's a problem how? That's exactly how yelp is supposed to work!

You want decent reviews, then make your customers happy.
16
People will say anything when they can do so anonymously…with absolutely no fear of being held accountable. Cowards. Spineless cowards, that’s all they are.

If you feel that strongly about your point of view, be a man (or woman) and put your name and face next to your words, not some bs moniker and a fake picture. I have little respect, if any, for people like that.

Yelp is losing credibility every day…it’s the MySpace of review websites.
17
I've never heard of Yelp. No one I've ever talked to has ever mentioned Yelp. They don't matter.
19
Yelp used to call my biz constantly- each day they called, all of our 5 star reviews would disappear. They told us that they would bring them back if we paid.
Additionally- we have more than 1 negative review from the same person, with different accounts. The kicker? We can't actually find any proof that they're a client, and not just my partners ex. Yelp refuses to move them, even though they have the exact same wording in each of them. Fuck Yelp.
20
I have no idea if his restaurant is any good, but isn't gaming the system with bogus reviews dishonest? Where is the concern on that? If the PM is so concerned for his welfare then why don't they run stories about how the Portland's drug addicts and mentally ill have made it nearly impossible for the little guy to establish a retail or food business downtown?
21
.... So I'm guessing staff at the Merc can't decipher the fake reviews that were filtered? Here's a thing. When someone has 3 reviews, all 4-5 stars, spread out over a few months, they're probably paid. This is a thing. If there's a reviewer with only one, they're definitely fake.
22
To Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of yelp:

Have you heard the story of the three men in the lifeboat? They note particular areas in the boat that "belong" to each as they make their way on their journey, each hoping for land and safety.

Each personalizes their area as best they can with seaweed, driftwood, and such using tools in a little kit in the lifeboat.

One day, one of the men begins drilling in the floor of the boat. The other two, obviously alarmed, ask him what in the world he thinks he's doing. He replies that it's his section of the boat and he's making his own modification. Of course, the other two point out that if he drills a hole in his section, the entire boat will sink!

How often have you found yourself in that situation, where somebody else's actions put you at risk?

Obviously, if it's something as clear cut as a hole in the bottom of a boat, we'd probably all speak up, but what about when somebody's callousness, self-centeredness, or just plain obliviousness causes harm that's not quite so clear.

Would you have the courage to speak up in that kind of a situation? I bet you would.

You're come across as the type of person who does not keep his opinions to himself. I think your intelligence and your strong-willed self-reliance are probably your two most prominent personality traits, and there's no doubt that you'd address something that could hurt you or a loved one right away.

Do you ever wonder if you might be the person holding the drill? I know there are plenty of times when I'm focused on something so much that the consequences of my behaviors to other people seem to be lost on me.

Sometimes, it's just a refusal to willing relinquish any rights of my own at all. It can be as simple as me not enjoying a meal as much as I should and complaining to management. I have no idea if I'll be causing someone to lose his job, but I think it's easy for us to put ourselves ahead of everyone else.

What do you do when you catch yourself being the person with the drill? Do you respond by putting it down or do you insist on your rights and flood the boat?

I think how we respond when we know we're wrong probably says more about us than how we respond when somebody else is wrong.

I realize that I'm rambling a bit, and I hope you'll forgive the way I'm going all over the place. But the implications of acting on what we believe to be our rights, while simultaneously hurting other people just kind of hit me when I thought about the story.

I think it's good food for thought for anyone, though, and I hope that the story has a good and life-affirming impact on you as well.
23
Just google "yelp extortion" have a little read and see the side of yelp the reviewers have no idea about.
24
Seems to be a lot of people have a reading comprehension problem. NOWHERE in this article did it say that the restaurant owner asked people to write GOOD reviews. He simply asked them to write a review, period.

It's an extremely common practice, especially in the restaurant business. If this is news to you, perhaps you need to get out more? Many restaurants leave comment cards on the table with the check...this is simply the modern/Internet version of that.
25
I wrote one of the reviews that is blocked. I heard about Tilt from a few other sources so I was surprised to see the negative reviews. I don't base my dining choices on Yelp reviews but it is always fun to check out what other people have to say. I can wade through some of the craziness and find user reviews that have been spot on. I mostly use Yelp for reviews on non-dining places or when I need a quick address, phone number or hours for a place. It is why I first went to Yelp for information on Tilt --- I wanted quick access to their address from the Yelp app. I really liked the food and atmosphere so I left a comment because they had some cranky reviewers. So, it bugs me that my legitimate review is not appearing for random, uncool reasons.

The other thing I have noticed is that some places close to my house never appear in the listings for places near me. I always have to just search by name. I am sure that is related to paid places but that leaves out a lot of great restaurants, bars or other businesses. They should be more forthcoming on how their search results are delivered.
26
The YELP algorythm takes the review and weights it by the number of reviews the reviewer has written. So, if you get ten friends to write ten reviews for you, but these friends did not ever review any other businesses, it is highly doubtful that any of those "friendly" reviews will show up .. ever. Reviews by 'active' reviewers lend weight to the review, and tend to show up more often than not. That being said, Yelp also has a random number generator built into the algorythm, with the effect of reviews coming and going randomly. One day you see your review, the next day you do not. Yelp has stated numerous times that their algorythm code is a super secret.

The good thing about Yelp is that the posters/reviewers are actually public. Other review sites, like the Oregonian newspaper. OregonLive allow posts from haters and competitors hiding their identities. Do you want to crush your competition? Create throw away email addresses, and post nasty reviews of your competition. Their only recourse is to find more positive reviews to stack on top of your nasty reviews.
27
I'm still trying to figure out how $8.50 for a burger could be considered expensive.
That said, he needs to get a decent website and a Facebook page. If it's handled right that should push the yelpers farther down the page.
28
'Word of mouth' has and always will be a powerful advertisement. To hear that people's opinions are filtered based on some super-secret algorythm and possibly whether or not they pay for advertising makes me one sad panda. Am I gullible? Perhaps. I still want to believe others are honest and mean what they say. Yet, here is another example that may not be the case. No wonder we can't keep our child-like innocence and faith in humanity. Jaded much? Unfortunately, yes.
29
I was just in this area yesterday, did not notice a new food source! We are always looking for a new place to try, so how could we drive all over that area and yet not see this business??? Maybe it would help this whiners business if he DID advertise and direct potential patrons to his location. Try the old fashioned stuff, how about a sign???
30
I own Entrust Hair in Portland and I have had the same conversations ad issues with yelp! it started as borderline harassment and then turned into them full on harassing me and not letting me off the phone. I told them i dont agree with how they run and i will not pay money for something that is suppose to be an honest source. Their whole thing about "randomly" filtering reviews is a scam! Filtering a couple reviews would be one thing but 65% of our reviews are filtered? Its beyond upsetting.
31
As someone who's employer's have been reviewed on Yelp, I will say the negative tends to show up more than the positive. That being said, I have also noticed that those who don't get their way, will also use Yelp to cast a negative light on a business that people DO come back to, time and time again, simply because they don't agree with either the staff members that they had to deal with at the time, or the policies of the establishment. Their have been numerous reviews that my co-workers and I have read, where we've gone, "Hey, that's not how it went down." This is especially true if you work in an establishment where alcohol is served. If the "Reviewer" has been drinking at said establishment, then they tend to focus on the negative.