Tag Archives: Yelp

Judge Me – Please

Do you use Yelp to review places? I do, and I have been soooo tempted to give different businesses I’ve had negative experiences with a bad review. It feels cathartic. You get to tell someone what you really think. In fact, I am most proud of my review of Yelp itself. They deserved it, and I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings because it’s an entity using machines to make decisions with algorithms, right?

Some people do that for a living, like Perez Hilton. But that’s different because he targets celebrities and they’re fair game. Right, again?

Well, to my point. I’m a businesswoman, and like my “friend” Seth Godin  says, “You have a choice – to be ignored, or talked about.” I guess I have to “choose” to be talked about. Otherwise I wouldn’t get much business.

Since I’ve added serving the wedding market to my business, this whole “judging thing” has really come to the forefront. Star Brows is in the process of joining The Central Coast Wedding Professionals. It’s a really great group, and I’m excited to join. They require four bride’s reviews from the past year and three reviews from wedding professionals you’ve worked with. Fair enough. But getting them is another story:

  • Women who just got married are kind of busy, and writing a referral is not on the top of their to-do list. Plus, they’re done with you. You’ve served your purpose.
  • Asking people once if they’ll give you a review (and possibly reducing your price as compensation) is uncomfortable enough, but having to remind them is annoying – for both of us!
  • Most businesspeople are so busy (enter wedding professionals) that they seem to be really responsive only on the front-end when there’s money to be made.
  • Asking brides to judge your work is unsettling since it’s a pretty high stress day, something may have bugged them, and when they write the review they may purge.

Just going to the meet-n-greets held by organisations like Central Coast Bride, whose group I love, can be stressful. You don’t know many people, if anyone, and face it – there’s judging going on. I’m guilty too. Why, just the other night I was sitting in a bar after the meeting and one professional said to the other, “Business good for you?” She asks, “Yeah, great.  You?” He says, “Really good!” She says, “What recession!?” “I know, right?” he says.

What recession?*@! I guess maybe the wedding market will stay strong in any economy, people aren’t going to quit getting married, and spending money on it.

Wedding Wire is a new “review site” I’ve joined. Whah, I only have one review, and it’s 4 of 5 stars. Some makeup artists have 60 or more reviews. Granted, they have been around longer, and they probably would have been Homecoming King/Queen or Student Council members. Popular. Cool.

And then there’s Facebook, which has Likes, Check-ins, and Friends. People can decide if you are popular or not just by looking at your numbers.

The whole thing reminds me of when I’d stand on the sidelines in school while they were picking teams and I was last, even when it was a friend who was captain. Seriously, I need to move on, get over it, right? What recession?

So what’s the take-away for you (and me), after you’ve spent your precious time to read my rant? I think it’s the basic stuff we learned in kindergarten: Be nice. Don’t say mean things to or about others. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Respect others. Don’t pout. Do your own personal best.

Got it.

See you at the spa!


Yelp Review

Admittedly, Yelp is the best source Star Brows currently has for new clients (you’ve got to give them credit for that) – and I am thankful for the free advertising, but they really frustrate me.

I am going to review them now, and although the audience is limited (apologies dear readers), this review won’t be filtered!

I first discovered Yelp in 2007. I had just opened Star Brows and posted a review of myself – shameless, yes – but just thought I’d get the ball rolling. 🙂 Once I realized they had tied my review to my business profile, I tried to remove it. Sorry! You can’t remove this review from their sight.  So, there it sits beside my name and picture (content-less, but still visible) as a reminder to all that I was bad. They say:

1 Review Removed for Violating our Review Guidelines or Terms of Service

Over time they have relegated each and every one of my precious reviews to “no man’s land.” In addition, the 5-star rating I once had is gone. They say:

14 Filtered Reviews for Star Brows – Note: The reviews below are not factored into the business’s overall star rating.

One of their explanations for the aggressive filter reads: Yelp has an automated Review Filter that many people are surprised to learn was put in place soon after our big launch in 2005. Of course, it’s evolved over the years; it’s an algorithm our engineers are constantly working on. Its purpose, however, remains the same: to protect consumers and business owners from fake, shill or malicious reviews.

Let me take you back to high school for a moment to look at a scenario that played out in my life. There was a popular group of kids. Many of these kids were just plain mean, but I too wanted to be popular. Hard as I tried I couldn’t figure out how to attract the masses, become homecoming queen (or at least a princess), get on student council or have swarms of suitors. Since I could never break the code for popularity, I decided to just be me – and forget about the rest. Still, events like being picked last for sports teams (I was also un-athletic) were really embarrassing.

I know I’m not alone, but that’s enough about that. Over it. (Well, almost.)

So, when you are a business, you also want to be popular. You want to attain the elusive “cool factor,” but just like in high school, it’s illusive. Yelp gets it, in fact, when you open your Yelp page it says:

Well aren’t you popular?

Now, before you start feeling too sorry for me or judge me for my lack of  “the cool factor” – people seem to love to follow cool people – let me just say this:

I’m 56, so I’ve been working on this for a while. I realize that I am who I am, and what I do and who I am is not going to appeal to everyone. Thank God! If everyone in town wanted to see me, I would be working way too hard, have to expand, and probably hire and manage a bunch of employees again. (Been there, done that.) I want a simple, balanced life which is in alignment with my values and the legacy I want to create.

Actually, I’d hardly characterize myself as insecure, and I’m not typically self-defacing, but Yelp has definitely triggered some old feelings from my early days that apparently I haven’t fully gotten over. So I guess a Yelp thank you is in order again! I’ll work on it.

Just for fun, my editor friend, Jeanne Dininni and I have been trying to break the Yelp review code for a while now: What kinds of things flag a review? Because they have engineers working on their filter’s algorithm, it’s probably a little “rocket sciencey.”

Here are a few reasons we’ve come up with for why they dismiss reviews:

  • The reviewer is a Yelp friend of yours.
  • The review contains too many superlatives (strong adjectives like “best” or “awesome”).
  • Too many reviews were posted during a particular date range.
  • You are the only Yelp review the person has done.
  • You’ve written a reciprocal review.

Yelp’s tagline reads: Real People, Real Reviews. Their niche in the business review market appears to be aimed at giving the consumer a place to post a review that an owner can’t delete or edit. Thereby, in Yelp’s estimation, reviews are authentic and unbiased – real reviews by real people. Good in theory, but here are my questions:

  • Assuming they are in business to make money, is their customer the average consumer or the business owner? If it is the business owner (who else spends money on advertising?) why aren’t they spending more time/effort on making policies that help businesses?
  • Why can a consumer delete a review on a business, but the business owner can’t delete reviews (like the one mentioned earlier in this post)?
  • When they allow every review ever written on a business to “disappear”, wouldn’t you think they would determine that their filters are too aggressive?

Thanks for reading my rant – and for your loyal patronage. I promise, here and now, never to complain about Yelp again and to be thankful for my humble business and its supporters. If you’d like to review Star Brows, how about going to YahooLinkedIn, or  City Search. And a big thank you to those who have already posted reviews for Star Brows on yelp or anywhere else, your efforts are greatly appreciated!

Experience the luxury of Star Brows, offering a quality, one-on-one spa experience – where you are the star!

I promise to keep it up – with or without Yelp reviews. 🙂

See you at the new spa!