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Yelp Frustration

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Kirstie, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    My frustration with Yelp continues. Last night I happened to look at my reviews. I rarely look at Yelp because I often find myself annoyed. But last night I was pleased. Two customers gave me great reviews within the last week. I was delighted! One took the time to write an especially long and glowing review with details of his experience in our shop. This morning I see that his review has been removed. This happens to me over and over again. A great review goes up for a while and then it is removed. His was up for less than a week. I think he had about 5 reviews to his name. He must have not been considered a "trusted Yelper." This makes me SO angry. How can may customers feel good about leaving reviews when they are then removed because the writer has not written dozens of others? I have actually had calls from customers who tried to be helpful and then wondered what happened. I had a particularly irate woman who I tried to help by calling Yelp. They said that if she posted more reviews her review of my shop would come back. She said she did, but the review never reappeared. So I had a frustrated customer on my hands. I will never, ever suggest that a customer give us Yelp reviews and I will not link to them.

    Why do the mediocre ones stay, some by people with less than ten reviews? What is going on? I must have lost at least a dozen great reviews in the last year.

    Could there be any connection with the fact that I have repeatedly turned down their advertising solicitations? This company has some bad press.
     
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  2. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Kirstie, I hear ya. Isn't it interesting how the good reviews will disappear, but never the bad ones?

    I'm always hearing from people that Yelp will promise to remove bad reviews if a business will advertise with them. I've been advertising with them for over a year, and they've never done that for me. I may cut out my advertising with them, and see if they will take down the two bad reviews in exchange for getting me back.
     
  3. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    The last sales call I had from them was about an advertising program that ran $300. per month. Is it really that much? $3,600 a year could buy a lot of web site improvements. How much is your program? I can't believe some of my competitors are paying that much.
     
  4. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    That really sucks. It's weird that they'd have that policy.
    Thanks for the heads up about it.
     
  5. josephforthill

    josephforthill MGF, Master Grumble Framer

  6. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    Take screen shots of the Yelp comments before they get gone, then put them up on a testimonials page on yer website.
     
  7. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Good advice, but instead of screen shots, save them as HTML files and provide a link to them.

    Better quality and they look like browser files (which they are).
     
  8. TGFU

    TGFU CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Kirstie, The same thing has happened to me, multiple times. I've given up on them!
     
  9. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Seems to me that Yelp sounds nuttier than Merchant Circle.

    Wouldn't it just make sense to let your happy customers write something for you and put this on a page on your own website - where you have 100% control?
     
  10. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Sounds like a "protection racket"
    You know, "pay us and we won't burn down your store, this week"
     
  11. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    I pay $100/month.

    The weird thing is, if you put the testimonials on your website, nobody will believe them. They will have all the credibility of a print ad in a magazine. But for some reason, customers will believe anonymous reviews from strangers posted at a 3rd party website.

    Anyway, for my $1200, Yelp brought me more than $50,000 in new business, and maybe another $30,000 in repeat business last year.
     
  12. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Just went there after reading this thread and punched in "framing" and the town I am in.

    Nothing came up.

    I then typed in the name of my shop and it came up with the same town I am in. (I moved almost a year ago)

    I then typed in the exact same thing I did the first time and I finally came up.

    When I checked the site last year I had a half dozen positive comments. Now none.


    It's carp.


    Bob
     
  13. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Bob, did you personally change the address on your yelp page to the correct new address? If not, you need to do that.

    And actually, I think I might try to write an article for Decor or PFM on how to use these review sites effectively. It can be tricky, but the payoff can be tremendous.
     
  14. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Excellent idea. I wish I had the one that was just taken down.
     
  15. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    We're working on it, but I agree with Paul with regard to credibility.
     
  16. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Directories...

    I agree that both are dubious at best. They should not be ignored, but most directories are not worth much more than FREE listings. Yes - update your listings to keep them current, and check the reviews from time to time.

    Yelp just seems to provide marginal and unrealistic results on business category searches. Most directories have errors, but Yelp is really bad > this means customers will eventually figure this out also and not return to this tool. :(

    Merchant Circle appears to try harder, but also falls a little short and tends to attract many smaller and marginal businesses rather than "high street" businesses and retailers, again this dillutes the directory search results which will eventually leave visitors disenchanted.

    Some "yellow page" online directories will use the testimonials from multiple sources: Yelp, Judy's Book, and others so it is important to check these over.

    As strong as our web presence is and we've had a Yelp listing for quite awhile, I've yet to have a review posted on Yelp.

    John
     
  17. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Folks, you disregard Yelp at your peril, and I really mean it. Consumers, and especially younger consumers, are relying on Yelp more and more to find restaurants, shops, doctors, you name it. If you want to renew your customer base with younger customers who have disposable income, you really need to master this new venue. You all swear by word of mouth, right? Well, this is word of mouth on steroids. When one of your customers recommends your store the old way, he or she may tell one or two people. These online reviews are seen by hundreds. I have over a hundred page-views this month.

    FYI, I am going to be writing that article, so look for it in a few months.
     
  18. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'll add this, too, on the subject of reaching out to younger customers. There was extensive discussion of this at the breakfast panel at WCAF. I'm going to direct my comment to Jay Goltz, who was the primary offender: if you want younger customers, try not to be so condescending. The average 30-year old customer may very well have a lot of money to spend, but she won't be spending it with someone who is so overtly dismissive of her and her peers.
     
  19. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Was that monthly traffic to your YELP page or to your website? Paul?

    I don't think any of us our dissing the idea of using new Internet directories and social network sites to reach a younger crowd of clientele. But I can't view YELP as the single medium to focus my attention at this point.

    Respectfully,

    John
     
  20. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    That's to my Yelp page, John. I think people find what they want there, and don't really need to go to my website. My hours and location are posted, and there are the reviews of the store, which is of primary interest to the visitors.

    At this point, that is my primary focus. Direct mail, valpak, and print ads just aren't working, and I have to pay up front. I ran 6 months of valpak to 20,000 households/month, and there wasn't a single month where the return paid for that month's ad. It's just a phenomenal waste of money here, although it may work elsewhere. I'm also doing the e-mail newsletter, but that's once a month, and I haven't seen significant return on it yet. Everyone says we need to focus on our existing customers, but as a shop that's only 4 years old, not 20 years old, I just don't have that big a customer base yet. And I worry about fatiguing my existing customers. You can only go to the well so often.
     
  21. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I'll be looking for your article Paul. And I agree, you can't bother your existing customer base endlessly and also, like you, I haven't been in business long enough to have a big customer base, yet.
     
  22. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    The president of Lifesaver was on the panel too, and he asked if we could print a list of our top 200 customers. I had to laugh, because that would be half my customer list!
     
  23. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    It would be almost my whole customer list! (but I haven't been in business for that long, just 1 1/2 years)
     
  24. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm taking another look...

    Paul,

    I'm going to take a good look at your YELP page, because my weekly reports run from these folks report that I only get between 0-4 page views (that's for the past 3 months!)

    Meanwhile by actual website gets 5-7,000 page views/week up to 18,000 Page Views/Week in Nov-December. YELP's page views might actually compare to Visitors by web analytics.

    What are you doing to optimize that YELP traffic?

    John
     
  25. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm not doing anything in particular to optimize it. This happens to be a community where Yelp is very active. Lot's of people use it here, and we also have a brisk amount of people who are new to the area, and they rely on Yelp to get settled in. It may be that your community just doesn't have a critical mass yet. There was a time when Craigslist was big only in San Francisco, and I'd check listings for big cities like Chicago and find very few. Now it's big everywhere. All the more reason to master it early.
     
  26. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    My Yelp page only gets about 70 visitors per month. Less than my blog which gets about 7750 visitors per month and much less than my web site, which gets about 18,000 unique visitors per month the last time I checked (just now for the last year's average) and 28,000 page views. Still, I do know that we have had business from Yelp, and I want to keep on top of all forms of web traffic. Time to check the Facebook page and see what that is bringing in.

    As a business owner you can add photos and basic information to your Yelp listing without charge. I have added photos but nothing else and I need to swallow my anger and do what I can to at least make my end of it accurate.

    John has a lot of web traffic and his generates direct sales! No wonder he teaches that class!

    How do you find your Facebook stats?

    (Just looked up and revised the figures above)
     
  27. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Facebook stats are under Insights. The insigns page gave me a total of 7 visitors this week who had "interactions" with my shop page. I think that means they commented on a post. So even that is more than my Yelp views.
     
  28. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Keep updating your Facebook page (but no more than once a day), and keep promoting it through your newsletter.
     
  29. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Facebook stats...

    Kirstie,

    Just examined my Insights area on Facebook and saw that my highest "Interactions" was 15, while the value on "Interactions Per Post" was 120 - not sure what and if that figure has any real meaning. Since you have been more active on Facebook how you do on these two charts (drop down menu).

    John
     
  30. Rick Bergeron - CPF

    Rick Bergeron - CPF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Kirstie,
    This explains the disappearance of reviews. If a person is not a regular 'Yelper', then their review is most likely to be removed by the automated system until the person establishes themselves as a regular.

    I'm a business owner and some reviews disappeared from my business' page. What happened?

    Reviews may come or go for a few different reasons:
    • A user may have removed his or her review.
    • Yelp may have removed the review for violating our Review Guidelines or Terms of Service.
    • The review may have been suppressed by Yelp's automated software system. This system decides how established a particular reviewer is and whether a review will be shown based on the reviewer's involvement on Yelp. While this may seem unfair to you, this system is designed to protect both consumers and businesses alike from fake reviews (i.e., a malicious review from a competitor or a planted review from an employee). The process is entirely automated to avoid human bias, and it affects both positive and negative reviews. It's important to note that these reviews are not deleted (they are always shown on the reviewer's public profile) and may reappear on your business page in the future.
    • Note: Our support team cannot manually restore reviews that are not currently displayed, should you contact us about missing reviews you will receive the information above.
    I'm a regular user (not a business owner) and my review isn't showing on a certain business's page when I'm logged out, but I still see it on my profile. What happened?
    • Some reviewers are more credible than others. For the most part, users can decide for themselves which reviewers they trust the most. We remove some of the guesswork by screening out reviews that are written by less established users. The process is entirely automated to avoid human bias, and it affects both positive and negative reviews. Since a user can become more or less established over time, your reviews can disappear and reappear over time, as well. Either way, we never actually delete your reviews, and they can still be found on the your personal profile page.
    • This system proves frustrating for some because it sometimes affects perfectly legitimate reviews. The flip side is that it helps protect against fake reviews from malicious competitors and disgruntled former employees. We think we've struck a balance that works well for business owners and consumers alike, but we welcome any thoughts you might have about how to refine the balance further.
     
  31. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    I agree with PaulSF. Yelp is useful.

    One has to create a business account (free) and enter all relevant data, shop / art pictures, opening hours, etc.

    And, it shows up VERY HIGH under Google search too. No complaints from me.

    I use Yelp a lot, especially when I want to look for a hotel, restaurant and such in a city. The reviews are usually very helpful. I find it much more useful than Merchant Circle by the way.
     
  32. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    I know this is what they say, but I have my doubts. I have some wishy-washy ones that were written by people with just a few reviews and they are stuck there like glue. Nine reviews is a trusted user? There is more here than meets the eye. Just the fact that an advertiser can put his favorite review at the top and that Yelp admittedly hires reviewers when it goes into new areas is enough bias to make it unreliable in my book. What else goes on, well, just read the general press and look at the number of lawsuits. Regardless, I will play the game, update my business page, and so on, because even though I have minimal page views, I believe that the site has some power in this geographic area.
     
  33. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    HI John,

    I'm not sure what it all really means, but here is what I can get from that page. the drop down keeps freezing on my Macs. I'll check on a downstairs PC later today.
    9
    Interactions This Week[?]
    ^
    Total User Interactions
    8
    Likes
    1
    Comments
    0
    Wall Posts

    The main reason that I post regularly is the same reason that I post on my blog and Twitter: links back to the shop web page. I see search results from my blog and there are informative. Who knew that the second most searched for item found on my blog in the last two weeks was Ed Hardy? Maybe I need to increase inventory or add photos to my web site.

    My shop Facebook posts automatically go to Twitter and then to LinkedIn. Many are not really appropriate for LinkedIn, but then so much of what is posted on that site is boring, I figure maybe my "status updates" will get noticed. Soon my blog service will be able to automatically post to Facebook. When that is available I can make just one post that will go to all four services, replete with links back to my site.
     
  34. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Playing the Devil's Advocate here - when everyone is linked in and up and twittering and circling and yelping - how long before everyone on the planet just starts ignoring everything.

    I ignore most of what is on Facebook already, especially commercial posts.

    People who post a tweet on FB just plain annoy me.

    Too much is too much!
     
  35. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Twitter is the most annoying and most childish joke to ever land on the Internet.
     
  36. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Only made more annoying by the reality that the people who created it will be multi-millionaires
     
  37. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    And, you wish that you thought of it! :p
     
  38. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    OK - I just went to the Yelp Buffalo website. Looks like they are in their infancy. Handfulls of businesses only listed - with no comments or info whatsoever.

    Like someone took a phone book and threw darts at it to find businesses to list?

    I am sure many businesses listed have no idea they are there.

    In what category do you list frame shops? Arts and crafts? Home decor?

    Just curious - the whole website looks really lame (at least the Buffalo version).
     
  39. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Mar:

    I searched for "frame shop" in the Search For field and "Buffalo NY" in the Near field and got 26 results:

    http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=frame+shop&ns=1&find_loc=Buffalo+NY

    Businesses need to add their listings to be found (easily) by Yelp (and Google will find the Yelp listing too, which is very helpful, as Yelp ranks quite high).

    PS: And if you check the box next to Buffalo under Cities, it will list ONLY those in Buffalo.
     
  40. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Paul - at least half of those shops in that list are in Canada - and with the border security situation these days no one in their right mind would go over the border to do framing.

    One place, Vidlers, is an old fashioned dime store - great place to visit but not a frame shop by any stretch of the imagination.

    Most of the places listed have no info whatsoever.

    I guess I am not getting the significance of this Yelp concept. I have customers of all ages and I have never heard one mention it.
     
  41. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Observations...

    Paul,

    I looked at your Buffalo NY search and then did the same thing for Appleton, WI with "questionable" results".

    Indeed we are listed among the 6 results, but #1, 5 & 6 are all out of town - 30 miles north and south. Meanwhile #3 and #4 are out of business! 3 other Appleton framers are not even listed. I'm not saying that they are the only directory providing questionable results but this is very poor and I am convinced that most visitors will give up on a directory if they don't provide 80%+ accuracy.

    Just taking notes... Yelp does appear to be really driven by keywords in your business profile.

    John
     
  42. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Yes, because the owners have not claimed the listing and added real info, pictures, announcements, business hours, etc.


    Look at PaulSF's listing to get an idea: The Great Frame Up in San Mateo
     
  43. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    In the Buffalo listings, one of the oldest, largest frame shop (which also sells art supplies online and in three area stores) is listed under "arts and crafts" and has no info.

    I just don't know if I feel comfortable adding my shop to their silly list. I got sucked into Merchant Circle and that just seems idiotic now.

    *sigh*
     
  44. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Mar:

    Once you claim the listing, you can change under what category your shop should be listed.
     
  45. TwinOaksGallery

    TwinOaksGallery Grumbler

    waste of time?

    I spent an entire day adding our business profile to these silly search sites just for the fact that the more links you have coming back to your website the more established google and similar search engines find you.

    I'm not saying it is worth it but for a new business with a small client base looking to bring in new customers every day, it can't hurt.
     
  46. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I just read the comments on PaulSF's Yelp listing. Love the woman who was so bummed that he tried to rob her blind by charging her fifty bucks for ONE FRAME!

    And then she was so happy to go to the BB and get a frame for one cent.

    Sheesh.
     
  47. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Don't forget that the competition (or a backstabbing Grumbling person) could easily go and give you a nasty review.

    Ask me how I know.....:fire:
     
  48. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Yeah, that was Mom, and she refuses to take it down!

    Then there's the woman who is complaining that I blew her discretionary budget for 2 months because she failed to speak up. I showed her a frame, she said "I like it." I priced it out and she said "I'll buy it." My work is done at that point. If it was too expensive, and if she wanted to see more options, how is it my fault that she failed to speak up and say so??

    But the truth of the matter is, people read the 15 great reviews and conclude that the two bad ones are from cranks, and shouldn't be given a lot of credence.
     
  49. gabedecor

    gabedecor Grumbler in Training

    Yelp

    Kirstie,

    We featured a framer in San Mateo, Calif. who is having some success with Yelp. Here's the link to the article:

    http://decormagazine.com/2009/12/03/retailer-focus-8/

    His contact information is included if you're interested in contacting him. He might be able to help you with your troubles with Yelp.

    Gabe
    DECOR Magazine
     
  50. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God


    That would be our very own PaulSF.
     
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