back to article Yelpian astroturfers invade Blighty

Web 2.0 poster child Yelp has transported its new-age city guide - and its sketchy online advertising model - across the Atlantic. Early this morning, the San Francisco-based startup launched the UK incarnation of its self-consciously hip site, billed as a place where "real people" write "real reviews" of local businesses, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    ....those businesses that are worried will now have to make sure that they are giving good value for money and good service.

    That said most unscrupulous consumers may use this to strong arm a freebie or refund without any basis on reality so they need some form of indemnification from Yelp that Yelp will divulge details of postings to enable the good businesses to have a comment removed or pursue the poster for loss of business.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My solution2.0

    If want to avoid having to pay protection money to standover merchants Yelp, don't run a business that targets the navel-gazing hip net set but one that targets another demographic. Go after the baby-boomers as they have the hard cash while the navel-gazing hip net set only have access to "not so easy since the gcc" credit.

    If the navel-gazing hip net set are stupid enough to rely on such a flawed, open to abuse and corruption service as the Y, then, if you were a business person, you wouldn't want to rely on such stupid and vain people as the navel-gazing hip net set to put food on your table.

  3. raving angry loony

    protection racket

    It's just another protection racket. "Be a pity if those bad reviews showed up. We can bury them... for a price." It's got nothing to do with providing good service or good value for money. It's all about placating another gang member - the Yelp gang.

  4. Andy Bright

    Negative reviews?

    When you look at the reviews of a Amazon or Ebay seller, are you influenced by the experience of a single person, or by the reviews of the majority?

    In order to be impacted severely by a negative review, it'd more or less have to be backed up by many other negative reviews or be the only one for the business.

    Most people aren't like this imo. I don't particularly want to see restaurants I like go out of business and the reasons ought to be obvious. If I get good service and good food then I'm better off. Getting a free meal once or even twice and then losing somewhere I enjoy going to a month later is not exactly doing me any favours. I'm pretty sure most people would see the logic in this.

    And besides, most of the time if the business is decent you like the people working there. Any semi-decent person wouldn't want to see them lose their jobs.

    You get twats of course, but I would think these would be in the minority, and if the business is any good, the positive reviews would overwhelm the negative.

  5. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Unscrupulous Scoundrels and Phantom Skullduggery

    A Sub-Prime Start-Up far too easily Perverted and Converted for Upstart Abuse...... which given the Ignorance of Man, will Guarantee its Abusive Use. To then, Nevertheless Offer it, must raise a few impertinent questions for the Promoters/Pimps to answer.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Negative reviews?

    What you say is valid and a reasonable argument. But I don't think you can apply that to the "navel-gazing hip net set" who care more about appearing to hip to their navel-gazing hip net set friends.

    I am sure you could over here this conversation at a yanky fast food type universal franchise that claims to sell coffee.

    Vacuous Paris admirer one says to the group "I had dinner at such and such new hip Asian/Hispanic fusion restaurant and it was great"

    Vacuous Paris admirer two who is busy using using latest fashionable netbook then says "But on Y*#p that place has had some negative reviews that say it so yesterday"

    Vacuous Paris admirer one, crushed, slinks away to go home and get on spacebook to find a shiny new set of BFF's and always from now on to see what others think of the place from Y!$p before opening mouth.

    Paris icon because no matter what you think of her, she is the role model of navel-gazing hip net set.

  7. Nigel Crockford

    Sorry to lower the tone - but............

    Stephanie ICHINOSE??

    Made up name surely!!!

    Getting my coat now.........................

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sheffield strangely missing

    No navel gazing here lad, you want Hull.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obviously never worked retail

    "Getting a free meal once or even twice and then losing somewhere I enjoy going to a month later is not exactly doing me any favours. I'm pretty sure most people would see the logic in this."

    There is a subset of consumours out there that love the free meal, weather it be an actual free meal or a free gift voucher etc.

    Unfortantly they have been bred by companies and managers ignoring the staff who say "this is BS/he has no case/it was his fault, he broke it/its not broken " and saying "yes, sir , no sir, 3 bags full sir"

    While its a good thing the site is there and yes people should see the majority of reviews, amazon/ebay reviews only really work cause you are pestered to review on a sale so you get both the GOOD reviews and the bad

    Remeber (and this is important and will be shown i think), people kick up a fuss when they are annoyed about something, are nice and quite when they are happy and contented (basically people will be more willing to write complaint letters than tahnk you letters, another thign people working in retail will know)

  10. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Who are all of these people....

    That have been "clamouring" for Yelp UK?

    Where are they? Why have they got nothing better to do with their time?

  11. Nigel Callaghan Silver badge

    Out of date already?

    Where did they scrape the data for their list of businesses? Yellow pages 1994? Just looked at the Aberystwyth area and there are businesses listed that closed years ago. There's a museum listed that shut its doors over a decade ago!

    Web 2.0 is SO 'now'.

  12. pastamasta

    Apply some pressure

    The problem with reviews of this kind is that people are more likely to write a review if they've had a bad experience than if they've had a good one. I certainly would be. So the system is weighted in favour of negatives from the start, particularly here in the good ole UK where complaining is practically our national sport...

    ...mine's the one with "How Objective Can I Be" printed on the back.

  13. Chris Cooke
    Thumb Down

    London only

    "Serving England, Scotland, and Wales,..."

    No. Serving London only, by the look of the front page. Of no interest to anybody else, unless they have plans to visit London.

  14. Sam

    Stephanie Ichinose

    She should scratch it, then...OK, I'll fuck off.

  15. TeeCee Gold badge

    @Chris Cooke

    Quote: ".......our initial efforts are focused on London, and that's where we had a scouting program set up,"

    And you're surprised when this turns out to be true why exactly?

    The provincials must be delighted that this foetid pile of bollocks has been foisted on The Smoke.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Yup, database well out of date.

    Never mind the reviews, where to start on how bad it looks so far? I checked the database for my town. The first-listed business is a pub in the next town, the rest - well, No 2 was demolished and turned into a Sainsbury many years ago, No 6 is closed, No 8 is Woolworths, and it continues on in the same way. Click on the Feedback button and it wants the State... this is just lazy and stupid, and so it's unlikely to get used. Pathetic.

  17. Steve Evans

    The UK visitors to the US site...

    "more 100,000 UK users visited Yelp's original US incarnation over the past month"

    Yes, and every single one of them only ended up on the Yelp page because something they searched for happened to be on that page... They quickly discovered they were on an American site and left as it was irrelevant to them.

    Sometimes I really wish we didn't share the same basic language!

  18. Daniel Palmer

    @Nigel Crockford

    Hint; She's probably second/third/something generation Japanese.

  19. pastamasta

    @Steve Evans

    ...or, possibly, because the genuinely useful UK site is only a slip of the finger away.

  20. Mike Crawshaw
    Thumb Down

    Truly Shit

    (Apart from one review I spotted for Blockbuster entertainment - it reads:

    "I rented Trainspotting here in 1997. The end.")

    Content is minimal, and what I looked at seems mostly to be written by self-important idiots on crack, with little command of the English language.

    Lazy construction as well, it keeps trying to take me to the US site and referring me to places in SanFran when I'm looking for stuff in the UK. Tip, guys, if I'm looking for a sushi place in Leeds, I don't mind you telling me about one in (e.g.) Sheffield, but I don't have much use for one in SF...

    So.... crap user-generated content, crap functionality - it's bound o be a Web 2.0 Winner, then....

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Yelp's business plan is "online extortion"

    Yelp is internet extortion. Businesses get to pay Yelp to remove bad reviews. Refuse to pay up? Yelp removes a good review.

    For the consumer -- those looking for "real people. real reviews." -- they are not getting what they expect: reviews that are better than actual for those paying extortion money, and reviews that downplay the actual consumer experience for those businesses refusing to anti up the protection money.

  22. Steve Liddle
    Thumb Down

    weird listings

    looked at the local village and seems we have many more pubs, then it seems that the site has lumped all the pubs within 10 miles into one village, not much use if you want to see what is in one village or another

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