Every few months (or the day after edits are made to my profile), a Yelp Sales Rep comes circling around in another attempt to sell me advertising, begging me to take 15 minutes out of my day to hear what they have to say.
Sometimes, I agree to the meeting despite the fact there is a 0.0% chance my business will ever advertise with Yelp.
The latest series of calls/emails came in January 2016, after I’d uploaded some new web design examples to my portfolio.
Knowing the predictability of which Yelp Reps operate, I knew to expect a call, but was surprised when I picked up a call from a Scottsdale number and found a Yelp Rep on the other line since all previous calls had come from San Francisco, a number I’d already saved to my phone, so it would be easy to identify and ignore.
Instantly, I programmed this number into my phone, then proceeded to duck calls from this guy, 3–5 times per week, sometimes 2 per day, for 2 weeks.
Not taking “No” for an answer is one thing, but Yelp reps are particularly rude, and really have no respect for business owners to be calling them this frequently. There is no shame at Yelp.
Then, on a Monday morning on the 1st of February, my phone rings, again. Feeling frisky, I picked up the phone and shouted sarcastically:
“Hi Yelp, YOU ARE EXACTLY who I want to talk to first thing on Monday morning, on the 1st of the month.”
The rep. proceeded with his pitch, unfazed, and knowing he wasn’t going to go away until I at least took the meeting, we set a time for later that afternoon.
Once we got past the warm up and started talking numbers, here is what was presented:
These rates are supposedly standard across all industries, and the only thing that changes is the cost per click, which for web design, is roughly $10/click.
At these numbers, the lowest package, which costs $375 would translate to $275 worth of clicks and roughly 27.5 visitors to my Yelp page. Not my website, my Yelp page.
For the $375, I’d be lucky to get one call, let alone a targeted lead, and no website visitors. Most of the clicks, I presume, would come from other web designers looking at their own Yelp Listings, my competitors.
Not only that, but the program was a year long commitment (mentioned verbally, not in writing), with heavy fees for early cancellation.
The Yelp reps solution to my objection? Spend more.
At this point, it was time to bow out, let him know it was a “hard no.”
Most Reps would get the point and move onto harassing someone else, but this guy wasn’t having it.
“What you are doing now isn’t working, otherwise we wouldn’t be talking”
“I seem to be doing OK, have been in business for 5+ years. You called me.”
“Are you saying that Yelp advertising doesn’t work?”
“I’m saying for the same amount of money I could generate more leads, actually drive traffic to my website and not have to deal with Yelp’s petty audience, which as I explained to the rep multiple times, wasn’t my target audience.”
“When I hang up with you, I’m going to call your competitors”
“OK, go for it, please help them waste their marketing budget.”
I do feel that there is some value in Yelp, mostly for people in specific industries who got setup early on, got a large number of positive reviews, and rank well organically on Yelp and for their local area in Google search results. There is also some value in having a good looking profile, and a few good reviews, which can be established for free.
What is most troubling about the company, from an outsiders perspective, is just how little respect they have for their customers.
In my opinion, the company is rotten from top to bottom, and I’d advise any of my web design and marketing clients to spend their marketing dollars elsewhere!