Aside

LuLuBeLLe on YeLp: A Little Sarcasm, A Lot of Disgust

“It seems to me that Yelp is biased, and rather unfair. Let me explain. I got online to try to find someone to fix my windshield (I used to have an auto glass business for ten years, and am very familiar with how things work in the auto glass business) and your company popped up in the search results with its Yelp reviews, so I decided what the heck, I’m having a great Monday (I wrote this Monday but just completed it) and even if I do hate using companies who are in the sponsored search results, I’m gonna give these guys a chance to prove to me they’re legit. 

So I browsed through the many, MANY reviews which all had FIVE STARS, and i looked at their review breakdown info where there was a chart showing their listings and their 30-day average. I found it to be quite odd that they have a 30 day average of FIVE STARS. Everyone I know who has a business complains that the only time people ever go on Yelp, it seems, is to complain…” *You can read the rest of this review by visiting: http://www.yelp.com/biz/capital-auto-glass-sacramento#hrid:QuPpzgmZsg6san7Cv2yDGg. Please, readers, check out the reviews on this business and how ridiculously sweet and kiss-ass some of them are, no business has THIS many customers who think they are awesome!

The point I’m trying to make here, is that businesses should lose their Yelp profile and page immediately when it is discovered or even strongly suspected, that a business has posted their own reviews for their business on yelp.com in order to boost their rating, or if it’s reported or suspected they have paid or offered any kind of incentive for posting a 5-star rating on their behalf on yelp.com. The reason I came across Capital Auto Glass, for which I posted a review which is real, genuine, and 100% sarcastic: I need a door glass for my truck, and despite having two mobile auto glass shops in my family, and having a family name kind of well-known in Sac County for more than its share of family members owning successful auto glass businesses (check out AAG Auto Glass, the auto glass business owned and operated by my parents and Precision Auto Glass, owned by my brother and sister-in-law) including my husband and me, I wanted to see what new local glass shops there were, because we have been out of the glass industry for many years now and have lost contact with former glass shop colleagues. First of all, I can’t believe the number of glass shops in Sacramento County. There were an awful lot when we were in business, but there must be five times as many now.

I must point out something that just caught my eye while comparing Capital Auto Glass’ Yelp page to those of my family, AAG Auto Glass and Precision Auto Glass, and I think you’ll agree with me on this: FISHY. Capital Auto Glass has been in business since 1999 and has 120 reviews on Yelp. My parents, again-owners of AAG Auto Glass, have been in business since 1995, and would you like to take a guess at how many reviews they have? Four. Four reviews on Yelp in the last 18 years. Precision Auto Glass has been in business since 1999 as well, same as Capital Auto Glass. Guess how many reviews they have on Yelp. Five. I kid you not, my friend. Five reviews since 1999.  Still think they’re legit?

I went on Yahoo! search and typed in “auto glass shop Sacramento”, and the very first business was Capital Auto Glass in the Sponsored Search results, which completely irritates me for one reason: just because a business has money and can afford to bump themselves up on a consumer’s search query does not necessarily make that business reputable, or desirable. I may be only 38 years old, but in my 38 years I have owned several businesses, and I have learned a thing or two about marketing and advertising, as well as about phrases such as conflict of interest, and the fact that Capital Auto Glass still has a profile on Yelp which is allowed to stay up, tells me that you can buy your reviews, or better yet give them yourself– on yelp.com, and it’s obviously not frowned upon. Minus a few points for Yelp.

Interesting observation: my husband and I owned our first restaurant, a franchise based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, along with my parents and my brother and sister-in-law, which we proudly opened on January 12, 2008, and I remember the first time the six of us decided to look on yelp.com to see how our customers rated us. We figured it would be 3 stars, we hadn’t had all that many complaints several months in, at least not for a brand-new restaurant. We were all shocked to discover that we had 2 stars. It seemed to only be negative reviews. And we had discussed amongst ourselves the many, many times we could recall that we had a positive conversation or experience with a customer, and we were disappointed to come to the realization of one fact: people get on yelp.com to complain and bash on businesses, not to praise them. At least, it seemed, from our findings upon looking at other restaurants on Yelp and reading their reviews. The reviews are definitely disproportionately negative. Which frustrated us, because we were trying to build a business with a high focus on customer service excellence and wanted to be viewed as a “local family owned and operated restaurant” working hard, as a family, trying to build a name, a solid reputation, in our community of Elk Grove, California.

I’ll be real honest here: we haven’t put much faith or trust in yelp.com’s integrity, and after coming across a business in the “sponsored search results” on Yahoo! with mostly all 5-star reviews on Yelp, my faith in Yelp has sunk even lower. I’d like to know what other consumers feel about Yelp and the integrity of their reviews as well as the trust they put in those reviews when they are trying to decide on a specific type of business to utilize, whether personal or business-related.  I’m going to spend some more time on Yelp and check out more businesses in my town as well as the entire county, and specifically read reviews on the ones I have had more than one or two negative experiences with, such as restaurants, local Mom and Pop businesses like book stores, pawn shops, car wash and detailing businesses, liquor stores, etc. These are the businesses I would most expect to have a slightly higher than average rate of positive reviews. People in their community are likely to want to encourage other consumers to look favorably upon these businesses in order to increase traffic to their town. Not some random, unknown mobile auto glass shop in Sacramento, where there are hundreds of other auto glass businesses, especially who just opened within the last year or two and have no customer base–no repeat customers, that is–to speak of. I urge you to visit this Yelp profile and peruse the 120 reviews they boast, and next to their business name on their profile page, there’s a little link that says “Rating Details”, I encourage you to also check this link out on their page…and please, leave your comments, experience with Yelp, and/or opinions regarding the subject of Yelp’s integrity. What do YOU think after reviewing all of this?

Final Thought: Yelp needs to revise their current policies and regulations regarding the legitimacy of reviews. I contacted Yelp and asked a few questions and requested a comment for this blog post, and if I receive a reply, I will definitely be including it in this post. Take a look, as well, at the pictures I posted on Capital Auto Glass’ Yelp profile. Take that, cheaters!

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