Yelp – Making A Profit By Bullying Small Businesses

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.  

This post is long overdue.  As you’ve probably noticed, I’m incredibly passionate about the businesses and companies that I support.  One of those companies is Yelp, and I have heavily promoted them over the last 6+ years.  You can find my post here where I shared all about my experiences with the Yelp Elite program.  I received so many free meals, tours, and experiences over the years through being an Elite.  It was a fun and engaging program that I encouraged everyone to join.

As much as I love freebies, my goal is to remain open and receptive when I find out new information, even about companies and businesses that I strongly support.   A few months ago, I discovered that Yelp regularly extorts small businesses by demanding that they pay for advertising and I’m now ashamed to have been associated with them in any way.

When a business refuses to advertise with Yelp, many businesses have noted that their good reviews disappear and bad ones show up first when people search for them.  I hate that this practice happens, as we all know how much small businesses depend on word of mouth and honest reviews to keep their businesses going.

I know several people who own small businesses and have confirmed that Yelp employees have done this to them with nagging calls almost every day.  It’s disgusting that Yelp resorts to these tactics to make a profit and preys on small businesses by threatening to hurt their livelihood.

In light of learning about these shady tactics, I’ve now completely stopped using the Yelp app, deleted my profile with them and have been using Google exclusively for my restaurant searches and reviews.  I’m sorry for having encouraged so many people to be a part of this kind of organization and will definitely be doing more research in the future to hopefully avoid supporting any other unethical companies.

If you’d like to learn more about the deception involved in the Yelp organization, you can check out this documentary.

Have you had any experiences with Yelp?  Please share in the comments.

Thank you for reading.


Yelp Making A Profit By Bullying Small Businesses (1)


  1. I am a small business owner who opened my shop in June 2019. Yelp constantly called my business line so I decided to hear them out (it was a slow day in the office). The woman, Ariana, was extremely flattering and gushed about how awesome to learn of a female owner in a predominately male-run industry. As part of her sales pitch she said that I would have to enter my credit card info in order to go forward with the online presentation. Of course I was hesitant, but she was adamant that I would not be charged a dime until I agreed to anything. She went on about that the call was recorded and they are a reputable company, etc (I hadn’t read the horrible things they did to small businesses at that point). What she already showed up to that point during that online walk-thru was pretty fascinating and I was more interested than expected, so reluctantly I entered my card info. She showed me a few other things and did pique my interest, but customers came in and I told her I would have to call her back. A few days later HUNDREDS of dollars are missing from my account! I called them and their attitude was completely different. Basically, I knew what I was signing up for and that if I didn’t keep Yelp I was setting my business up for failure. I demanded to hear the call and demanded a refund countless times to no avail. I disputed with my bank who gave me a provisional credit but Yelp fought me for it and got my money again. I spent so many hours trying to get my money back but eventually was at a loss. I opened this business with my life savings so when Yelp stole that money it was almost the end of what I worked so hard for. It may sound dumb but I was scrapping things together and didn’t eat for like a week to try to save what I could to get back on track. I cannot believe Yelp is in business. ITs a damn shame what they do. In the end I felt like a victim of Regina George where she tells me my shirt is so pretty and I proudly admit that it was my moms and after I walk away she says that the ugliest f*** skirt I’ve ever seen. Yea Yelp is the mean girls of the business world and i cannot wait for them to get hit by a bus and never recover!


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