Pubcon , which takes place during October 5-8th in Las Vegas, is the largest gathering of search marketing professionals in North America. Its speakers represent some of the biggest brands and names in marketing, including names like Disney and Guy Kawasaki. On the subject of reputation management, veteran search marketing professional and CEO of Reputation Stars and Submit Express , Pierre Zarokian will cover how to handle negative reviews on Yelp. Yelp has become the first point of contact many consumers use when they search for local businesses. While unethical, it’s not uncommon for one business to practice negative SEO in the form of leaving poor reviews on a competitor’s website. While Yelp has done some work cracking down on this behavior, it’s also been revealed that Yelp has some unflattering practices with regards to selling ads. Those who refuse to pay say negative reviews begin to appear, sometimes in greater numbers than before.
Recently Pierre Zarokian, our CEO, wrote an article for Search Engine Journal about how a Restaurant with negative reviews decided to take on Yelp and just ask everyone to leave them negative reviews in return for food discounts. When Yelp was first conceived, the idea was to find local hot spots based on the tastes of your friends. Yelp’s founders had hoped they could create a network of reviews that would help to source such lists. The Yelp of yesterday doesn’t face the same problems that the massive network of today faces. Transparency Problems Yelp is the winner of a recent appeals case that gives the company rights to order reviews posted on its page as it pleases. Yelp has argued that it requires this right in order to perform its basic service, namely to offer trustworthy reviews. It argues that the star rating system benefits restaurants, which see a significantly larger bump in revenue for each star increase in ratings. The conflict of interest appears when Yelp sales people try to sell businesses higher visibility an more customers through advertising. This creates a transparency problem for the company
Yelp’s FAQ page explicitly states that a user is unable to pay the company in order to preserve a pristine reputation. Why then is the FTC revealing 2,000 complaints that allege the company has been trying to sell exactly that idea? Yelp may say they separate the content and revenue side of the business, but they aren’t clear on what that means for businesses. Several sources from businesses who have spoken to Yelp’s sales team claim that Yelp has used their competitors to try and sell advertising space, threatening them with competition on their page if they refuse to pay. Meanwhile, consumers have privacy concerns as Yelp faces court battles over alleged falsified reviews.
The integrity of Yelp is about the only commodity the site has to attract repeat visits. The authenticity of the reviews posted there is important to consumers looking for new destinations for products and services. With a recent surge of fake and ineligible reviews hitting the site, CEO Jeremy Stoppleman has decided to speak authoritatively on steps Yelp has taken to stop these reviews from becoming commonplace. Yelp has begun issuing citations in the form of modal popups. These messages warn potential customers that the business they are viewing was caught faking reviews.
A new ruling from the Virginia Court of Appeals is forcing Yelp to reveal the names of seven anonymous users that left bad reviews of a carpet care business. The ruling looks at the legitimacy of online reviews that cannot be verified through traditional means. Yelp currently allows users full posting rights as anonymous, believing that everyone should have the right to express their opinions without identifying themselves personally. The courts, apparently, disagree. Drawing on a pre-existing statute, the Virginia court ruled that the reviews presented significant enough risk to the business that the owner was justified in requesting the user data. This case falls under well defined laws in the state of Virginia, but the rest of the US is still reeling from the verdict. Will this ruling forever jeopardize a user’s right to post a negative review of a business anonymously
Webcertain recently published some interesting international search and social media usage facts: 1. More than a quarter of the world’s online population log onto Facebook EVERY day 2. Brazil is the world’s by far most socially engaged nation 3. Yandex is the world’s fourth largest search engine, now bigger than Bing 4. Google holds a 71% share of the global search market; Baidu captures 16.5% 5. Central and Eastern Europe’s social audience set to outstrip that of North America next year 6. Incredible climb of 360 Search sees it surge above 20% market share in China 7. Twitter now has 215 million active monthly users globally; LinkedIn 184 million 8. VK attracts twice as many visitors as Facebook in Russia and crushes it in engagement. 9
In a new article published in SearchEngineWatch.com, our CEO Pierre Zarokian writes about the supposed change in Bing’s policy on removing URLs from its search engine. Published on August 23, Bing No Longer Complying with Court-Ordered Defamatory Content Removals? , the article reveals that several reputation management attorneys have told Zarokian that Bing refuses to remove certain content from its search engine, even after a court of law declares the content defamatory. This can be significantly harmful to many website owners and businesses. Has Bing truly stopped accepting court orders to remove defamatory content from its search index? The article includes insightful interviews with the lawyers, Bing’s response to the recent claims, and interesting commentary by Eric Goldman of Ripoff Report.
A recent article from the LA Times reports the growing dissatisfaction with Yelp, a popular review site for restaurants, tradesmen, and local businesses. Yelp, Inc. held a panel of three reviewers and two business owners at the Pantages Theatre on Tuesday in Los Angeles, California. The meeting was held in an effort to explore misconceptions surrounding the company and to build relationships with business owners. However, the discussion quickly degenerated into an emotionally ridden criticism of the website’s aggressive advertising practices. One business owner, Craig Martin of Cafe 50′s in West Los Angeles, told the panel, “I have one-star reviews for my diner from people that have never walked into the place
Twitter has announced that it has revamped its search results on Twitter.com, making it possible for users to search the social network with features similar to Google’s Universal Search. As they type their queries users can now search photos and accounts as well as recent searches and social contexts. Twitter’s updated search results panel now features accounts and photos. For any given query, Twitter search will first display people results, followed by top tweets and then photos related to the query. A new photo tab makes it possible for users to join both filters
Your online reputation is now protected by the new launch of Reputation Fighters. Founded by Pierre Zarokian of Submit Express, Reputation Fighters will offer the same quality service offered by the parent company for the last 14 years. Deeply involved in the operations of Submit Express, Pierre is known for assuring great work for his customers. Online reputation is incredibly important for small businesses because it reflects the amount of time, money, education, equipment, staff training and marketing you have invested. Unfortunately, many businesses fall victim to angry staff and crazy customers ranting about them online, whether the content is true or not. Most customers use online review sites like Amazon and Yelp to determine if they want to even set foot in your door to buy your products and services. 83% of consumers report that online customer reviews helped them formulate their decisions. Even one false review can dramatically decrease your sales, especially those placed on high ranking sites like RipOff Report. Reputation management helps reduce the impact of negative reviews showing up in search results