Yelp Swears It's Not the Mafia

CEO says recent negative press is "conspiracy"

For the record, Yelp is not the mafia, the Gestapo or any other incendiary organization. Or at least that's what they say.

The food reviewer of record, which allows restaurant goers to review the places that they just ate at or a company they received service from, has come under heat lately because some restaurant owners are complaining that the only way they can avoid negative comments about their food is to advertise on the site. Several owners said they feel forced into advertising just to ward off the evil spirits.

"We felt like we had no choice," Jamie Inzunza, owner of Mamma’s Brick Oven Pizza in South Pasadena, said of the $350 she pays Yelp every month, according to the Los Angeles Times. "We decided that we had to spend all this money to protect ourselves once the bad reviews started appearing."

To combat the negative reviews, Yelp has come out firing on all cylinders. Company CEO Jeremy Stoppelman told CNET over a cup of coffee (do you think he Yelps about the coffee after he is done drinking it?) that the company is not going to take things sitting down and the allegations against it are a "conspiracy theory."

"They have that saying, 'don't shoot the messenger,' but the reason they say that is because the messenger gets shot," he told CNET. "So I have to take my shots."

Stoppelman said there are no truths to the smears against his San Francisco based company.

"There are business owners out there who don't think consumer reviews are good," he told CNET. "(They're) looking for confirmation that Yelp is this bad entity."

On his blog last week, Stoppelman responded to negative stories in the San Francisco Chronicle and the East Bay Express by saying that they were not the mafia and instead he said Yelp's new algorithm to root out rogue reviewers.

Contact Us