Yelping on the Hypocrite Thugs from the Yelp Mafia

Yelp Mafia

It’s too bad, but that’s me, what goes around comes around, you’ll see… I was just humming to myself for no obvious reason that I was nobody’s wife. But that’s true though, what goes around does come around, especially if you’re a popular reviews site acting all hypocritically Mafia-style.

And if you still don’t understand this frail innuendo and you didn’t pay too much attention to the headline then, yes, I’ve just referred to Yelp as a hypocrite Mafioso.

But before I commence grumbling, let’s take a brief moment to reminisce about a couple of occurrences from the past… in September 2011, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman has issued a testimony to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee regarding Google’s practices and conduct. It’s so much fun to remember…

Google Uses its Dominant Position to Force Services Like Yelp to Contribute their Content to Benefit Google Local…

Google’s Offers a False Choice…

Google Backtracks Under Public Scrutiny, But Privately Reprises the False Choice…

Forget the Algorithm: Google Favors its Own Sites by Design…

Oh no! Google has been deliberately manipulating its algorithm so it would benefit its own products! That’s not fair! The government should have certainly been notified about those misuses that harm competition! Because Yelp is all about fair competition. Google is just being evil! Of course that’s just me saying that, not Mr. Yelp CEO…

…Or is it?

[H]e [Jeremy Stoppelman] did say that Google has some evil business practices, such as ranking its reviews higher than those from competitors like Yelp.

Okay, so we know that Yelp believes Google had abused its power for its own self-interests gain by swinging unjustly the search results, and that Yelp stoutly postulates it is so utterly wrong and unfair. Wouldn’t it be totally HILARIOUS and incredibly EMBARRASSING for Yelp if it will get caught doing THE EXACT SAME THINGS?

“Yelp is the thug of the Internet,” who said that?? “Please help the business people from the Internet Mafia,” from where this irksome cackle is coming from?? “Yelp has essentially fabricated a business location,” you close that maw of yours!! “Yelp said [a] business was closed and started a new account for the same business filled with only negative reviews,” shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!!

RobbyD (Robert Delaware), a contributor to the Freedom of Information advocator site MuckRock, had beseeched and received from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) a list of charges against Yelp that were filed by business owners. And a pretty long list indeed it is… comprising around 700 complaints that accuse Yelp of being manipulative… deceitful… unethical… and unfair.

It appears that there was one prominent recurrent type of indictment against Yelp’s conduct- the site had contacted business owners and implored them to advertise. If the solicitation had been refused, Yelp had allegedly expunged positive reviews for the business while excusing it with an algorithm alteration or whatever.

That’s not nice. In fact, this practice somewhat resembles a protection racket in the contemporary digital age. And it wasn’t even the first time Yelp is being accused for plying such actions.

In early 2009, a story called Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0 (you can easily guess what it was about) has been published on the East Bay Express and caused quite a PR bedlam to Yelp. From its side, Yelp has attempted over and over to undermine the article, blaming it was based on unreliable sources and doesn’t fathom Yelp’s algorithm.

It is quite coincidental that since then about 700 new complaints have been issued to the FTC, asserting pretty much the same stuff.

You’re like a stone hanging round my neck, see, cut it loose before it breaks my back, see, I’ve gotta say what I feel before I grow older…