Unfortunately over the years we've received negative reviews from frustrated customers--sometimes for situations where we've dropped the ball and sometimes for situations outside of our control. A few years ago we noticed our website appear on the Yelp website. We received both positive and negative reviews but to our delight, the reviews coming in were always overwhelmingly positive...until...
As we received more reviews on Yelp we also started receiving frequent emails and phone calls from Yelp sales staff asking to pay for "their services". It was several times a week we would receive solicitations to pay them. We declined their frequent sales calls. It was then we noticed something odd, their calls and emails stopped but more importantly our positive reviews started disappeared from their website. Some of our positive reviews remained but now were nearly impossible to find, hidden by a hard to find link at the bottom of the page that reads "reviews that are not currently recommended". It's interesting that Yelp "currently" doesn't recommend or display the majority of positive reviews.
As a small business, we know we aren't alone. Other business are reporting similar experiences. Recently we noticed an ad circulating on Facebook to pay for Yelp's "services". What was most interesting was there were over 1,000 comments from other business owners also reporting positive reviews disappearing unless you pay for their "services".
We are disappointed anytime a customer has a negative experience but to put things in perspective, we've fulfilled orders for over 200,000 orders online. That does not count what we sell on Amazon, Ebay or other selling channels. Nor does it include the customers who visit our store in Madison, Wisconsin.
Below you'll find screenshots from a recent Yelp advertisement (and a handful of the 1000 PLUS comments from other business owners) that is circulating on Facebook. We will NEVER pay any organization money for positive reviews or pay for the ability to erase negative ones.