Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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IS IT TRUE THAT YELP SUCKS. THE STORY OF A-Z MOVING AND THE RAW DEAL THEY’RE GETTING FROM YELP.

December 29th, 2011 · No Comments · Business, Technology

YELP SUCKS! I hear it all the time. I wonder why people say YELP sucks since I’ve found the restaurant articles to be insightful and “yelpful.” But perhaps that’s where the people who use YELP should limit their opinions to.

The last thing I want to do is join the chorus of people (and it’s a growing choir) who are singing the YELP SUCKS song or spend a blog post on the topic of YELP sucking.

But an injustice needs to be corrected here. I was on my way to visit a drummer friend Chris Conway who has worked with everyone from P Diddy, Eminem (was up for a Grammy for Marshall Mathers LP), Paris Hilton (yes he’s partially responsible for that), Flava Flav, and others, at his Kent Ave apartment. On the block I noticed a funky little garage and got into a conversation with a girl who happened to be the dispatcher of a New York Moving company A-Z Moving that operated out of the space. Being in advertising I immediately saw an opportunity and before long I was invited to come back to sit and talk with the owners. In the interim, I did my homework and found out what I could about the company which you can also find at their website www.azmovingusa.com.

A-Z Moving are some hard working folks. They have bootstrapped their business from nothing into an operation that covers the area from New York to Chicago and up to the Canadian Border. From what I understand they are now opening up an office in San Francisco. Michelle who is sort of the Manager there gave me some background and told me that the company’s forays into online advertising have not been that good.

I asked why not.

They cited YELP, why they think YELP sucks and did more than that…. they showed me.

But first, at this point in the story I have to go back to a previous occasion where I had seen an awesome BMW that had been customized pulled over off Kings Highway. The owner was cleaning out the interior so I stopped to ask where he’d gotten it. He’d told me about a company called 212 Motoring which tricks out luxury cars. I have a strict rule about not having more than one type of client in a given demographic area and when it comes to New Cars and New Car Dealers in the New York City area, my choice (and from where I leased my 2012 VW – it’s a start) is XClusive Auto Leasing on Staten Island.

But still my curiosity had gotten the best of me and I looked up their reviews on YP.com and their seemed to be a few different businesses. I went to Google and what caught my eye was a 1 star review on YELP! The problem with the YELP review (unlike what I found on Yellowpages.com which was specific), was that it was an opinion about why some girl wouldn’t go to 212 Motoring because she read some article in the Daily News. Now, the article was horrendous, about the owner of 212 Motoring Harry Shasho suing the city after being convicted of a deadly hit and run for damage to his Bentley. Click Here to Read This “Helpful YELP Review”.

I don’t know anything about that case, but it is irrelevant to the work they do. The one star rating some girl gave them was not based on customer experience no matter what you may think of the owner personally. It’s the same kind of logic people used against Woody Allen after he fessed up to carrying on an affair with Mia Farrow’s adopted Daughter Soon Ye Previn. The point is that it is opinion, and why sites like YELP are only clouding the directory business. But it gets worse as I not only heard from A-Z Moving but another company Laser Cosmetica that had something similar to say about being asked for money in order to keep the “Good Reviews” on top and the bad ones buried.

Back to the A-Z moving saga.

After sitting in the office, and watching a team of hard working people dealing with an issue they were having at the Border, and keeping their customer informed every few minutes, they told me that YELP was hurting their business. They showed me that if one goes to YELP! and types in A-Z moving – it would look like only five people rated this business and that the average rating was 1.5 stars. Not very good. Unless you go to where the REAL reviews are which is The REAL YELP! Reviews (47 of them) for A-Z Moving.

Apparently A-Z was a customer of YELP! and didn’t wish to pay (and I may be wrong here) $1,000/mo to keep those good reviews on top. The punishment? YELP’S Filtered Reviews for a former customer. I want to be really careful here and not imply that this is akin to extortion but there’s something wrong. Funny thing was I had only a week or two earlier heard something very similar from Laser Cosmetica whom I met at the New York Business Expo.

Can this be true? Is this YELP’s business model? To get businesses good reviews and then hold them hostage. Since I honestly don’t know but have now heard the same story 2 or 3 times I’d like to know if you are a business owner and have had the same experience.

In the meantime and by way of fairness, here is a Link To YELP’s Filtering System Explained.

And on the other hand here is a link to a site that is all about why YELP SUCKS and Yelp Sucking.

yelp sucksA Funny Link About Why YELP SUCKS

click for a site that is all about why YELP SUCKS

Finally and by way of disclosure I want to point out that A-Z Moving is now advertising with the YP.com. Further, I (and any army of people that I wanted to round up) could go to YELP and make up some phony bogus 5 star reviews. That’s how easy it is. Perhaps people should be required to provide some evidence of a business transaction before being allowed to post. But even here that wouldn’t matter since the good reviews were apparently filtered down.

Regardless, posting bogus reviews is against my ethics. I loved the service I got with XClusive Auto Leasing and wound up choosing them over Bay Ridge Toyota BASED on reviews. To that end I can say that for my next moving job I will be calling A-Z Moving first.

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