I finally ‘claimed’ my business listing on Yelp. Several months ago. I added a brief description of what I did, and left it at that.

A sales guy started calling me a few months later, but I always had something preventing me from entering into a discussion – like a surgery or a travel plan… after awhile he gave up.

A few more months later a gal starts calling me from a 480 area code. She really wanted to walk me through their process and “help” me… I couldn’t talk then. I didn’t answer the next two calls but finally did answer one today.

At first it was okay – going to the Yelp website to see kind of how their system worked, although I felt like it was really elementary and unnecessary (which of these companies would you choose?) She asked me a lot of questions about my business model and seemed genuinely interested. But it was all to sell me on their package.

Back to my business site, by the third screen I was looking at an opt-in credit card form. Um, no, not going to do this right now.

She showed me a page that had a ‘neilsen rating’ for their audience – how they came up with it, God only knows – something about lies and statistics? All their evidence for being an awesome resource is hosted on their own website (nothing fishy about that?).

Her scripted approach left me feeling like I was at an Amway convention. (“Wouldn’t you agree that businesses use Yelp to generate leads?” or some such nonsense question she wanted me to ‘agree’ with – I called her out on it saying it felt really smarmy).

She had me search for other web designers in my area and it looks like none of them are running paid ads. Me thinks there is a reason… but they do have reviews, and I don’t, and I don’t really care. I’m on page 4. And I’m okay with that.

I did a little more research, and it turns out that once you start advertising, you can’t stop, lest you run the risk of them hiding your positive reviews and promoting your negative ones, until you start paying again (I think this is called extortion).

And the courts allow them to continue this heinous practice.

I did not buy any advertising – it is more expensive than Facebook or Google – and no one I asked in my area of business had ever gotten a lead through them by spending money on their ads or services. I said I wanted to fill out the rest of my business profile and didn’t need her help and could upload images on my own. Meanwhile I have client’s needs to attend to.

She told me she had not done her job if I didn’t move forward. So she’s going to call me back. I’m toying with the idea of wearing her down with my evidence to the point where she quits her job, but I’ve also read that I’d be wasting my time. A better approach might be from these guys, https://www.postmm.com/social-media-marketing/reputation-management/dealing-with-yelp/ using the Seinfeld approach. Maybe wear her down first, read the posts from a private facebook group slamming Yelp, read the lawsuit about negative reviews, and if that doesn’t work, use the Seinfeld ender.

Have you ever dealt with pushy Yelp salespeople? How did it go? Did you pay for ads? How did you get rid of the salesperson? (Comments disabled. I had over 4000 in spam from this post alone. Were they from the Yelp company? One has to wonder.)