Pay Per Yelp?!

February 19, 2009

GapersBlock reports, via an East Bay Express article, that user-generated review site Yelp.com suppresses bad reviews, but only for good money…. Hmmmm.

John’s restaurant has more than one hundred reviews, and averages a healthy 3.5-star rating. But when John asked Mike what he could do about his bad reviews, he recalls the sales rep responding: “We can move them. Well, for $299 a month.” John couldn’t believe what the guy was offering. It seemed wrong.

GB also posted another a link to about a martial arts specialist blog about what seems like more Yelp scrubbing here in Chicago… either than or rampant flagging by someone.

This is when the problem began. After a few days, the reviews started disappearing one by one on the Yelp site until I went from 28 reviews to 18 reviews. I was pissed. I know you can flag reviews, and I suspected that maybe a competing business who’s reviews weren’t so glowing was flagging my students’ reviews.

Yelp is indeed a cool company, and useful (ed. note; I am a Yelp Elite member).   But I’ve had a few experiences when there definitely seems to be tampering going on, whether it’s internal or with other parties abusing the site.  First instance was the failure of Mojoe’s Hot House in Avondale on Belmont.  It went under new management and the place just went to shit. (As evidenced by not only the reviews on Yelp, but the crafty graffiti stencils found all over Avondale that read “MoJoe’s Sucks Now”).

Despite all the verbal vitriol, and spray paint that spoke the opposite, at some point positive posts started cropping up on Yelp.  While it’s possible they did, indeed “turn it around”, two of the final eight reviews of the place (which eventaully closed) were most definitely “inside jobs” — both 4-star reviews of the place written by people that I knew actually worked at Yelp (Though, I’m not naming names).  This, of course, is just one place I was directly familiar with —  I have no idea how common this is.


Coffee And Tee’s?: Tim Bikes Around for Stone Creek and TeeCycle

July 10, 2008

Heyo,

Tim’s… got time on his hands. Inspired by Milwaukee-based Coffee House Stone Creek’s offer to give a free pound of coffee to anyone that visits all their stores, Tim took ’em up on the offer. And did so BY BIKE. Check it on the Stone Creek website here:

A few weeks ago we launched our Stone Creek Anniversary Road Trip in which you can visit our stores in the metro Milwaukee area to get free coffee. We were delighted to hear that one of our amazing customers, Tim Cigelske went the environmentally friendly route and took the entire Stone Creek Road trip by BIKE! Which is about 100 miles! Tim also documented his journey, Tour de Stone Creek on his website TeeCycle.org . For every Stone Creek location on his trip he has a photo of himself in a cool vintage t-shirt that is available for sale on TeeCycle.org . Like Tim, we encourage you to share your amazing Road Trip story with us. Send your story or photos to cboivin@stonecreekcoffee.com. You still have a lot of time! (until August 31) So get out there and take the trip no matter what kind of transportation you have! Sip slowly and be safe! Thanks again Tim!

Tim at the finish in Oconomowoc with his free pound of coffee!

Anyway. This was an INSANE trip, 40+ miles one day, then nearly 70 miles the next. I decided to map the coffee & commerce bike trip on Google Maps, which you can check out by clicking here.

All this effort was not in vein, because Tim is now training for a bike ride from Colorado to Milwaukee at the end of this month. That shizzle’s crazy.

Also, Go Go White Sox.