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Today we are going to discuss a phone call Dmitry had with an ex-employee of Yelp. We won’t reveal the employee’s name, but in this article he will be referred to as Andy.
You can listen to their phone call by watching this video.
“All these videos popped up about how it’s [Yelp] a scam,” Andy tells Dmitry, first noting how he came to discover sinister stories regarding Yelp’s practices.
This happened only because Andy felt disenfranchised after a month of working at Yelp. When Andy quit, that same day he reached out to Roofing Insights to give perspective on what it was like to work there.
“It’s very deceptive. It’s very vague on the whole sales process,” Andy says of Yelp’s tactics.
Working at Yelp was a joke. Andy had to cold-call 80-90 leads per day, 2/3 of whom were customers immediately hanging up. Adding to the difficulty of connecting with customers, many of the leads had already been contacted. Andy also was told that he wouldn’t receive commission on sales until he sold at least $20,000 in services.
It was a tough situation to be in, trying to reach out to new business owners to see if he could get them to sign up for premium services with Yelp. This premium service included being thrust to the top of Yelp searches in their respective fields, but that rarely happened.
Algorithm is the word to remember here. Andy says it’s a term Yelp loved to throw around.
“I’ve only seen one comment saying they’ve had success,” he says of this algorithm. “Honestly, I don’t know if I believe in that [the algorithm].”
Even if there is an algorithm, and even if it’s useful, Andy says Yelp hides new businesses who receive a bounty of 5-star reviews. This is done because Yelp assumes small business have fabricated their success in order to gain traction on the website.
“It’s really putting a toll on small businesses,” he notes.
Yelp also has gotten away with charging businesses for fees they haven’t agreed to. For example, Andy signed one guy up at $15 a day to use Yelp’s services. Yet at the end of the month, that customer had a bill for nearly $700.
“I come home so stressed every day,” Andy says. “I just couldn’t do it anymore.”
“Some people think that we’re making this stuff up,” Dmitry says. “That we’re just posting this stuff for the hype or the likes. You guys don’t understand how much people pay. It’s a lot of money.”
Both Andy and Dmitry agreed that the goal is to make small business owners aware of Yelp’s scams so that they aren’t manipulated out of their money.
“This is so broken. It’s wrong on so many levels,” Dmitry laments near the end of the conversation.
His assessment couldn’t be more correct.
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