Where the Film Stands: August 2017 Update

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Hi everyone! We wanted to give you some additional information now that we’re able to. We are excited to share that The Gersh Agency is representing “Billion Dollar Bully.” The film is finished and as such, they are now sharing it with various film buyers. We are looking for the best path to distribution to ensure this film is widely seen. At the advice of our agent, we pulled the film from the festival due to the fact that many purchasers require that the film has not previously been seen by a public audience.

We understand the process of making films is long and arduous and we can’t wait to reach that finish line! We are eagerly awaiting to hear next steps from our agent.

As always, we are so appreciative of your support. Please feel free to email us if you have any questions.

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33 thoughts on “Where the Film Stands: August 2017 Update

  • So the public fund your movie and now your holding it back based off Buyers? Please do explain . And if your looking for a good distribution channel, how about the internet??

    • The public funding certainly did not cover all the costs. It helped a great deal (and the film couldn’t have been made without it!), but by no means did it cover all expenses.

      The internet may be one method, but we don’t want it seen by a small handful of people. The number of people who reach out to us weekly saying they had no idea that this film was being made is a testimony that there is much to do to make sure this film is widely known in many circles, not just a few small circles.

  • Seems like you’re just trying to get rich off of this thing. You’re telling me that if you called Netflix and said you would allow them to host this movie for free that they wouldn’t host it on their documentary category?

    Assuming that you’d be willing to let Netflix distribute it for free, the only reasons why they would say no are because they either don’t like the movie or because they are Yelp sympathizers.

    I’ll call Netflix for you and pitch your movie if you want.

    • Hi Gen! I tried emailing you but didn’t get a response. I see you’re a former Yelp salesperson. Would you like to share why you’re so eager to see this film released? 😉 I’m sure many people here would love to hear about it! A little guilt, perhaps?

      While I understand it may seem that cut and dry to the average bystander, it really doesn’t work that way. There are investors in the film that would like an ROI, and I have a duty to get that to them.

      • Guilt? How overeager and misleading of you (seems to be your thing). Nope. I have nothing to be guilty for. I don’t work for Yelp any more and wouldn’t make a comment on their behalf, nor can I do so legally. I can tell you that I know for certain fact that when I worked at Yelp they had very strict rules about what we could say on the phone. All of our calls were screened to make sure we never made false promises and were delivering clear and legally approved language. If anybody did say or write an email containing language that was vague in this regard, they would be pulled off the sales floor and warned about it. This policy that they have is due to witch hunters like you who accuse the company of doing things it does not do.

        Am I eager to see the film released? Again, no. I talked to a lot of business owners on Yelp, a lot who saw great success, a lot who did not. Such is the risk that a client takes when purchasing advertising (the reason why I don’t sell ads anymore). I have a good idea what sort of conspiracy theorists will be speaking in your documentary. I was really just wondering what’s taking your movie so long. A lot of people are starting to think it’s never going to come out at all.

        • I really appreciate you opening up about your time at Yelp. I wish we could have spoken before the film was wrapped. We reached out to countless Yelp employees, both current and former, and nearly all of them were too afraid of retaliation from Yelp to go on camera. We will be very excited for you to see the film when it’s released to wide audiences. Thank you for keeping a very important dialogue going.

          • Thank you for posting my comment. Reason being for why none of us interviewed with you – making statements either positive or negative on public forums is against our contracts. All corporations have this policy. Only designated PR people can respond to you or others who challenge the company’s mission. At Yelp, we weren’t even allowed to leave reviews. We had to give the company access to our private email addresses and any prior yelp accounts to make sure we did not leave any reviews, positive or negative, as they are conflicts of interest.

            Thanks for posting my reply and allowing this dialogue to exist.

        • Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if that were the case for every rep at Yelp. Strange this comment is from an”Ex” Yelp employee. I own a small restaurant in Indiana and can for a fact say I have been told by more than one Yelp sales rep that by advertising I would see my unrecommended reviews become more visible. It doesn’t seem like pulling the sales rep off the phone and giving them a stern talking to is as effective as you claim because I have been hearing the same pitch for the whole five years I have been in business and if that is true Gen, explain to me why recently a sales rep has been using both email and phone to solicit me to the point of harassment stating just what you claim they are strictly prohibiting. Save it. Yelp is the biggest scam on the planet second only to Comcast. I would love to see Yelp go down in flames. And just for informational purposes, I have 38 unrecommended reviews of which 30 are four or five star. Do the math and get Yelp’s nuts off your chin. I for one can’t wait to watch this movie and if I had known about it sooner, I would have gladly dropped as much money as possible to help get it to viewers. It’s time someone does something about Yelp and their business practices.

          • We have had very similar circumstances. We have countless customers who we know for a fact are real customers, real reviews and have offered proof to Yelp with zero response. We have countless 4 and 5 star reviews filtered out and yet every one or two star review stays up no matter what; unless of course as multiple Yelp sales scum have told me, I pay them. Than they say our good reviews would not be filtered and our bad ones would be more likely to be filtered.

          • BurgerGod,

            I didn’t come in here with the intention of anybody knowing that I worked at Yelp, Kaylie cross referenced my email with my LinkedIn for whatever reason and she made her reply, as a matter of fact, she didn’t even allow my response to it to be posted until 4 days after I’d written it.

            I’ll concede here – if I got an email like that I would probably think exactly what you think. The person who wrote that sounds like an idiot who thought she was being vague and instead made a scumbag of his/herself. The tactic she is used is called pivoting, when a client mentioned their reviews, we were told to pivot to advertising to discuss the visibility of your page, not your reviews. Example “who cares if you have 10 unrecommended reviews, only 5 people have seen your page this month, I would rather have 100 views and 1 review then 100 reviews and 1 view.”

            Out of genuine curiosity, for you to have 38 unrecommended reviews, you must have close to 100 reviews in total correct? How many reviews do you have recommended? Rule of general thumb is that 3 of every 10 reviews are withheld through the review filter. I’m willing to bet that you have a great yelp reputation but are kicking sand around because you want all of your awesome reviews on your page instead of just most of them, correct?

        • Interesting I have run a small business for 37 years with a sales staff never once had to implement any rules, policies or structure to tightly control my staff and make sure they were Lying legally. Never had to screen calls to make sure my staff was selling legally, never had to pull anyone off the phones or floor and warn them. Nope never had anybody sign anything or agree in any way shape or form they wouldn’t discuss our business practices after we parted ways. Gen you sound exactly like one of the many low life scum bag Yelp salespeople who contacted and threatened me many times in the early days. You should have some respect for a person who really should not even be giving a horrible excuse for a human being such as yourself an opportunity to be able to speak in the same space as her.

          • Just like you, Bill, I have a family, a mother, a father, friends, and people who care about me. You called me a scumbag because I worked at Yelp. Someone else said I have their balls on my chin. Something tells me your customer service and the way you treat people are probably affecting your smb way more than Yelp is. All of you are literally lying through your teeth saying that sales reps promise to take down or up your reviews. I actually worked at the company, you can call me any name you want and tell me anything you “heard.” You hear what you want to hear, because instead of “you should probably improve your customer service and really let your customers know that you care about what they think” you hear “pay me and I’ll make your problems go away.” Assholes like you take people at Yelp who barely make any money to get by and have them lose their jobs because you twist their words around and take no responsibility for the way you run your business and take no part in a logical productive conversation.

            Of course you don’t have to have legal protocols you asshat, you’re running a smb, not a corporation. Google, HomeAdvisor, Yellow Pages, all these companies have legal scripts and protocols. They are high pressure sales positions and their reps feel the heat and say things they shouldn’t. Everyone who did this at Yelp, as far as I could see, where fired immediately – like please leave and we will mail you your stuff immediately.

            I’ve worked for more SMBs than some of you will ever visit. I’ve managed restaurants, worked as a mechanic, done roofing, bathroom tiling. I have sincere respect for people who run their own businesses, but I also know the manipulation and aggressive scamming that goes on their end as well. The next time you charge a premium to a client who has a nicer house and more income, or bill a client for a service you didn’t provide, remember what you said to me and think about yourself. America is a dog eat dog country, and the people you may interact with at Yelp or on the phone at other companies are starving to make a buck and feed their families just like you. Don’t put yourself on a pedestal and act like you’re all good and Yelp is all bad. Have some self respect and be honest with yourself. Some catharsis might have saved you some money on this stupid movie that probably isn’t even going to come out.

          • Gen thanks so much for giving everyone a clear window into the soul of a Yelp scum bag. Time will tell if this movie ever gets released. I would bet my left arm Yelp has thrown plenty of money at Kylie to not make and release this movie. I’d bet she had many sleepless nights over legal threats made by Yelp. I’m betting she is a stand up human being and not a money grubbing commisioned scum such as yourself who has no morals, no thoughts, other than how much money can I squeeze out of this human being. Jeremy is who Jeremy is and evil people have existed throughout history. But just like Hitler who could not have done what he did unless the mindless, morales scum followed him blindly, Jeremy could not have done what he did just the same unless scum like you followed him blindly with zero regard for the people you were exploiting. And look where it got you Gen unemployed and bitter. BTW what’s an SMB Mr. fancy pants?

          • Bill,

            I’m not unemployed. It seems like my comment hurt your feelings. For that I’m sorry. I lead a business development team currently and sell products that people can physically hold in their hands so that they don’t freak out by the intangibility of something like advertising.

            I released a lot of angst that your post gave me in my last post, sorry if I got you riled up. Your emotions are showing in your current post, as I said I’m not going to respond to you. Deep down inside, you know that I’m not a scumbag, and even deeper down, you probably know that Yelp isn’t the route of all of your problems.

            Have a nice day.

          • Lying through my teeth? What an ass clown. I don’t know you. Why do I need to lie? Trust me, my customer service is just fine. I have emails stating exactly what I said….there was no reading between the lines or reading into something that wasn’t there. Exact quote “I understand that you are upset because our software is hiding so many of your five star reviews. If I could show you how to have those reviews more visible rather than not recommended by utilizing our advertising space, would you be interested?” I copy and pasted that and FYI this person wasn’t immediately fired because the conversation continued for several days. Now, I am unsure what you get from this but I understood it to mean if I spend money and purchase their advertising, the reviews that are being hidden that I wish to see visible would miraculously appear. Spin it however you want. Who cares about your work history. Nor do I need a lesson in capitalism like your comment “America is a dog eat dog country” implies. You came into a forum to troll it with your work experience at Yelp and how this movie was a conspiracy theory. Also, I have never been told by Google, Facebook or Twitter that if I spent money with them, people would see my reviews….again, of the 38 not recommended, 79% are four or five star. Save your propaganda and the poor me barely making a buck story or how experienced you are in SMB….if you were, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now would we?

          • Accidentally posted this in the wrong spot.

            BurgerGod,

            I didn’t come in here with the intention of anybody knowing that I worked at Yelp, Kaylie cross referenced my email with my LinkedIn for whatever reason and she made her reply, as a matter of fact, she didn’t even allow my response to it to be posted until 4 days after I’d written it.

            I’ll concede here – if I got an email like that I would probably think exactly what you think. The person who wrote that sounds like an idiot who thought she was being vague and instead made a scumbag of his/herself. The tactic she is used is called pivoting, when a client mentioned their reviews, we were told to pivot to advertising to discuss the visibility of your page, not your reviews. Example “who cares if you have 10 unrecommended reviews, only 5 people have seen your page this month, I would rather have 100 views and 1 review then 100 reviews and 1 view.”

            Out of genuine curiosity, for you to have 38 unrecommended reviews, you must have close to 100 reviews in total correct? How many reviews do you have recommended? Rule of general thumb is that 3 of every 10 reviews are withheld through the review filter. I’m willing to bet that you have a great yelp reputation but are kicking sand around because you want all of your awesome reviews on your page instead of just most of them, correct?

          • Bill and Gen – First I want to say Hi – My name is Ethan Lipman – you can find me in public here https://twitter.com/etlipman. I know Kaylie well and I know how hard she has worked on this film. I also know how frustrating it is for her to receive comments claiming that she has made this film in order to personally enrich herself. I am not her PR agent. I am a friend. For me, Gen’s accusation is akin to the frequent attacks on Al Gore’s character and motivations for his focus on climate change. I’ve worked in the solar power industry for 10 years. Decarbonizing and cleaning up our power production and transportation system is something I care deeply about. I can tell you there are not a lot of people getting filthy rich by working to address climate change. There are however a lot of filthy rich bankers and real estate developers.

            Most of what I read in this thread is an exchange that is only possible because of the distance and relative anonymity the internet provides. Kaylie punctured Gen’s anonymity because she felt attacked. Not surprisingly, that didn’t go over well. Gen, feeling attacked, fought back with an even more confrontational. Perhaps on an idyllic mellow day, Kaylie would have ignored your assertion that you could do a better job of pitching her movie to Netflix.

            It’s all too *easy* for Bill to attack Gen and Gen to attack Bill, and Gen to claim Kaylie is operating some sort of a get rich quick scheme. What I want to say is that none of these attacks make anybody happier. What *good* have you accomplished by this insult-laden back & forth?

            Gen – I doubt that you are a scumbag. I bet you are a lovely thoughtful person. I have worked a sales job that I wasn’t always 100% thrilled with, but that doesn’t mean I was a scumbag. What job is perfect? What company is perfect? The management that sets company policies are just people and they can make terrible policy mistakes. There is no doubt that Yelp is an imperfect company, and I know for a fact that there are people with valid grievances about Yelp’s business practices. That does NOT make Gen or any other employee at Yelp a bad person. It is completely understandable that Gen would feel defensive about a movie that is critical of part of her professional history. Anonymity on the internet is a problem – while it is hugely helpful for free speech inside an authoritarian regime, it also enables people (me included) to take a nasty combative tone with others when we are out of range of each other’s fists. Let’s all take a step back and take a breath and be just a touch more gentle with each other.

            Kaylie is unlikely to engage further in conversations that focus on the negative. She has more important work to focus on that will bring this movie to the largest possible audience as soon as humanly possible.

            I hope Billion Dollar Bully calls public attention to the lopsided power dynamic that gives Yelp excessive power of a small business’s destiny. I hope the film helps Yelp improve their business model and their sales process so that they better live up to their potential to help great businesses succeed. Lastly, I hope Kaylie does well for herself earning a reputation as somebody who does the hard work telling a compelling and informative story.

          • Ethan you couldn’t be more wrong or sound more condasending. I stand by every word I said and if you sat in my office with my hardworking staff who have been abused, exploited, harrassed and threatened by Yelp and the Yelp scum you’d feel the same way. Do you understand that not once did we reach out to, contact, ask or ever want to buy anything from or interact with yelp in any way. Do you understand that we are a small business without the benefit of technology, caller ID, that we have to answer the phone. Do you understand that Yelp calls constantly, repeatedly day after day after day a new rep harrassing the staff who answers the phone refusing to hang up and stop talking, taking staff off the floor unable to earn their living, to service their customers do you understand that? Do you have any concept at all? You are forced to talk to them. And than it starts same words as Yelp scum gen used. You have big problems you need to pay me the most ridiculously high rates for nothing. But if you don’t your problems will get worse. They know nothing. They put in ZERO effort. They have zero interest in wasting one second asking about your business, taking a genuine interest, give us your money your customer service sucks give us your money or we will make your business fail. Do you really think for one second Ethan that Yelp could or would do anything to improve our customer service. If I pay Yelp to improve my star rating my customer service is going to improve. Are you kidding me. Have you owned a small business Ethan? Have you sat in on multiple Yelp sales pitches. You have no idea what you are talking about. You read books, you read newspapers, you’re educated, you’re smart you think you’ve got it all figured out. You don’t know anything. A hit man who goes to work for the mob, a concentration camp guard who commits atrocious crimes with the excuse of I was just doing my job, just following orders they are just as guilty as the sick and twisted leaders they follow. No difference here. I made my judgement not based on Gens claims of a background working for Yelp I make my claims based on the words he wrote, on the ideas, the beliefs that are in his head. This has nothing to do with internet anonamity. I have said nothing I haven’t said directly to Yelp staff. And why is it Ethan that you believe people should only speak their mind when it will somehow benefit them personally. Absolutely no good has come and will come of me speaking openly about and to Yelp. It can have zero possible financial benefit to me and my company. But I do it for one reason and one reason only. It is WRONG. Plain and simple. It is wrong. Maybe if more people stood up and spoke their minds instead of strictly just thinking of hmm will this benefit me we could prevent more bad stuff from happening. Maybe if people stood up and said wait I’m not a Jew , I’m not in danger here and if I say this I put myself in danger but hey we shouldn’t be killing the Jews. So ya I put myself in danger when I say hey Yelp shouldn’t be allowed to kill small businesses mindlessly for nothing more than money and I will not stop. Yelp is scum and anybody who works for them, supports their policies and does their bidding is scum. Maybe you’d prefer I sugarcoat it but that is exactly what has got this country in the trouble we are in today. Half the country is thrilled President Trump went to the UN and blatantly stated Rocket Man and his 25 million citizens will be wiped out if they don’t behave and half the country is aghast because he didn’t say the same thing cryptically and sugar coated.

          • Bill – you assume quite a bit about me.

            “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”
            I think this saying is true and valuable and something that we agree on.

            I am a strong proponent of speaking truth and standing up against unjust business practices, unjust laws, corrupt leadership and the like. I happen to be Jewish, and while I don’t buy into any of the spirituality, one of the things that I am most proud of about my culture is that our community stands against racism wherever we encounter it. This is why Jews and Muslims in the USA have recently found that they have more in common than they have in many years https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/us/muslim-jewish-alliance-after-trump.html?mcubz=0

            I understand that Yelp has harmed your business and pissed you off. It sounds like you find them irredeemable. Maybe that is true.
            I disagree with you that a young person fresh out of college who finds themselves working an entry level sales gig at Yelp is automatically scum. They simply are not guilty by association. Maybe they try to improve things from the inside in small ways. Maybe they can’t and they leave after 1 year to a job the suits them better. If it feels like I’m condescending, that’s because I am. Your tone with others and your tone with me only serves to harm your ability to get your ideas across. Nobody responds well to being personally attacked, instead they get defensive and they lash out. Typically this escalates and everyone gets progressively more pissed off. And no, I didn’t read any of that in psych textbook, I found this out by personally engaging in exactly those sorts of pointless confrontations and finding myself less happy for it.

            I find it obnoxious that Donald Trump insults people on Twitter and in his speeches. His behavior is grotesque and an embarrassment to this country. When he insults and demeans reporters and comments on their plastic surgery, his behavior goes beyond absurd. He is setting a terrible example for all of us, and I am making a point of choosing my words more carefully than he does.

            I’d love to hear what you do for business – feel free to reach out privately if you’d like to have a conversation I’m at ethan.lipman at gmail – if you’d like to have an argument – please do not reach out.
            I won’t be commenting further here.
            Good Night

          • We have more in common than you think Ethan. But we have two completely different communication styles. I couldn’t agree more about the example President Trump has set. But attacking someone for looks for physical defect is not on the same planet with calling someone out for what they are based on their own written testimony. If you go back and read this persons words he is still spewing the same twisted philosophy of Yelp. I tried to have multiple reasonable conversations with Yelp. They don’t listen they don’t care. You are nothing but a dollar sign to them and they lye, threaten, exploit and overcharge. If Gen spoke like a nieve green behind the ears kid who just didn’t know better than to just throw him into a cubby hole of yelp scum would be wrong. I’m not concerned with Gen with his fancy talk and smb’s and such. I’m concerned with the thousands and thousands of hard working small business people that he is cold calling relentlessly every day reading a script with absolutely no regard for the human being on the other end of the phone who is just begging to be left alone and he just wants your money. And if that doesn’t work well let’s see if he wants to talk to me when his 5’star reviews disappear and all the one star stay up. And they call back now give me your money and you are defending this guy? I don’t get it. He is no different than the guy who calls your Grandma relentlessly to donate money to the hurricane victims. It’s a scam by purposely preying on people who will most likely be weaker than them. If you found that guy you’d yell scum to the ends of the earth but somehow taking the same concept , dressing it up with millions in marketing and lawyers and the such somehow that is OK. We get hundreds and hundreds of cold calls a year. Everything from advertising to credit card processing to Aflac and the policmans softball game for the kids. Never ever ever have I been treated with the disrespect the harrasmemt the threats and than the actual hammer to my head if I don’t pay them. It is absurd it has to stop and it is not going to stop by being nice or trying to engage in logical dialogue. The greatest thing I’ve seen is the counter protesters show up at these Nazi marches and shout them down. And they aren’t shouting hey Mr. Nazi sir you really aren’t very nice and I don’t think you should be a Nazi anymore. So yes anytime I meet or have any opportunity to interact with a Yelper someone who defends them who regurgitates the Yelp scripts mindlessly knowing exactly what they are doing. He is no victim and we all should be calling them out as Yelp scum the same we call out the Nazi scum. I am sorry if I offended you Ethan. President Obama is my hero but we have to have an open mind. I am equally disturbed by all the things you listed but I also am starting to see some benefit of moving away from the political correctness of just saying what we think. I think it might be good to find some balance and not have every word and act scripted to make sure no one is offended. Maybe if we all really knew what was in each other’s heads as ugly as that would be, at least we could start to adress it.

  • I can’t wait for this film to be released. I’ve worked in the tech industry for a couple years in companies that “compete” against yelp in the online marketing space for local businesses and the yelp horror stories I hear from my clients are pretty much non stop. This film will shed light on a hidden problem with the online/tech industry and whatever you need to do to ensure the most people see it I am 100% in support of. In addition, you’ve worked hard on this project for years because its a message you believe in. I hope you do get rich off of it! I am in no way offended that you’re trying to make money back on this movie to cover costs/ pay back your investors/ or even pay yourself. Keep up the good work!

  • Yelp is probably one of the most corrupt things in human history, more infamous than some dictatorships. It absolutely must be shut down. I honestly don’t know how its gotten this far. Free speech and unverifiable, permanent articles on the Net are two different things. I hate Yelp.

    • Neal agreed but it goes way deeper than that. Not only are the reviews unverifiable but I can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Yelp filters out our good reviews and leaves our bad reviews up in order to force us to pay their extortion. Everyplace else, google reviews, Angies list, Groupon, Facebook etc. we have 4 – 5 star ratings Yelp we have 2 star. BUT it goes deeper. None of our customers, nobody who shops in our stores or is thinking of shopping in our stores goes into Yelp and reads the reviews. It’s that 2 star rating that comes up top in any google search that kills us. Today online marketing is the only choice. Print, direct mail, radio, TV no longer are even an option. Google adwords, online display, etc. is where you have to spend the money and than boom Yelp 2 stars but it’s interesting not a single web site I compete with even has a Yelp account. Why is this? I’ve tried endlessly to just close mine and I can’t. The analogy here is this. Back in the day when the mafia preyed on the small business owners offering “protection” they were less professional. They burned down your store or beat you up. Yelp stands at your front door , tells customers not to shop in your store, and lies about the reasons why when the only reason is that you won’t pay them to NOT stand at your day and bad mouth you. And this is Legal?!?! Yelp goes beyond sucking. If the good lord exists and Heaven and Hell are true Jerremy Stoppleman and his band of merry thieves have a very nice spot waiting for them in Hell I can guarantee you that.

  • I understand Bill’s anger. Yelp suppressed so many of my positive reviews from legitimate clients I have had for over 20 years. There voices were suppressed while they let 2 anonymous peoples posts to show.

    One of the people I only met on the phone and he claimed “I lied to his face” when I had never met him even once in my life.

    For a period in my life, I was devastated. I felt my humanity had been ripped from me and went in to a deep depression because of this individuals false statements about me.

    Because Yelp allowed that individuals false claims to remain, 2 other posts appeared from anonymous sources which sank me even further in to despair.

    With much effort and spending thousands of dollars, Yelp eventually deleted those 2 posts but allowed the other 2 to remain which are just made up stories which unless I spend thousands more, Yelp wont delete them.

    Yelp stopped calling me because they know how I feel and I won’t buy their services to take a chance that they will let my real reviews service and suppress these folks who are just trying to bully me.

    I understand that that Gen is trying to defend the company he worked for. To some degree, he sounds a bit righteous of the time he spent at Yelp OR maybe he is still working there. I don’t know. He is sounds young like in his 20’s or young 30’s. I understand what it is to be young and to do jobs that maybe you wouldn’t do later in life after you get more experience.

    I would only say to Gen, I hope you have a chance to start your own business. I know it’s hard out there in sales. Your only as good as your last sale until you make another one. And, if your on commission only, it can be scary.

    All I can say is, it’s even harder running your own business. Having to pay 100% of your own health and dental insurance. No disability or unemployment insurance. Having to pay 100% social security insurance. Having to buy business insurance, car insurance local, state and federal taxes, advertising and assistants, buy customer meals and gifts.

    And then comes along a saboteur. An oversized bully of a customer. Someone who demands entitlement, who tries to extract money out of my client. A total shakedown and bully tactic from a Yelp Elite trying to shake my own client down for thousands of dollars. I made the fatal mistake of trying to protect my client from abuse and theft and the anonymous caller didn’t go after my client but after my business.

    Yelp could have done the right thing and deleted their comment but they defended it because this person was a “Yelp Elite” reviewer. All of a sudden, after, this review surfaced, Yelp began bombarding with calls.

    Maybe that was how they got started. Encourage “Yelp Elites” to go out and review as many business as they could. The power probably went o the “Yelp Elites” heads and they thought they could bully favors and free things and unreasonable concessions ut of business because they had Yelp backing them up.

    I defended my customer against this shakedown and the “yelp Elite” didn’t go after my customer who refused to part with thousands of dollars but after me, the one who was representing the customers interests, trying to ruin my business.

    I think a better Yelp business model would have been to just let anonymous people make whatever comment they want and if the posting was so obviously poisonous and unreasonable, upon request, they could have deleted the post.

    Instead, Yelp suppresses positive reviews and allows incendiary comments to surface.

    Why? Because incendiary, mean spirited and perhaps even libelous reviews sell “newspapers”. They also attract on line “eyeballs” like witnesses to a burning house or a tragic road accident. Inflammatory reviews attract readership like standing in line at the supermarket check stand attracts shoppers to pick up the National Enquirer and read all the juicy gossip whether it is true or just made up.

    What Yelp has created is the equivalent of a National Enquirer for businesses. Made up negative and mean spirited stories about people and their businesses. Right after the made up story comes out on Yelp, a Yelp salesman appears saying that by buying thousands of dollars of advertising on Yelp, my business will improve.

    It is like the National Enquirer approaching a celebrity after writing a false and scandalous article about that celebrity and saying to the celebrity, “if you will only take out an ad in our magazine worth thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, you’ll gain your reputation back.” That would make the front page of the NY Times.

    That is exactly what Yelp is doing. Ruining reputations by allowing Yelp Elites and or other run of the mill miserable, complaining, negative shake down artists who bully small businesses in order to extract monetary concessions. If the business doesn’t cave in, they go in for the kill to take that business down. Yelp then suppresses the positive reviews and lets the false reviews surface hurting the small business. And then Yelp swoons in like the pretend defender they are saying, “for just thousands of dollars, I can make everything OK and maybe or maybe not, the negative reviews will go away and make your life whole again.”

    Yelp cold have been a force for good but they followed the National Enquirer route. They could have requested that before posting a review, the poster must authenticate their identity by receiving a phone call so that the poster would be identified in case the post they made was libelous and the business they hurt anonymously could be traced back to an individual in a court of law. Or, if the customer was known to the business, if the review was libelous, Yelp could suppress that review at the discretion of the business.

    Yelp could have made money by simply asking the business to advertise on its site. Not by encouraging pitting customers against business.

    I really think Kaylie needs to look in to this “yelp Elite” crowd. Find out what went on in these “Yelp Elite” parties, what did Yelp instruct them to do. And pull emails and files on their business records to see what their master plan was to make money. It just seems there is a dark force behind their business model and it has festered in the name of greed leaving dead bodies (hopefully not by suicide by the business owners they hurt) and dead businesses along the way.

    I do believe there is a God and I do believe in karma. Kalie Milliken is standing in the light. She seems like an honest person who is simply exposing darkness and a practice that has been hurting both incomes and the lives and reputation and good and decent people. It’s that simple.

    Yelp can transform itself and be a vehicle for good and still make a good income by changing its business model so it doesn’t crush businesses. Yellow pages did it for years. So can Yelp. There is still hope they can change both their business model and their reputation.

    PS: sorry for any type o’s. It’s late.

    • Hi David – feel free to email with any direct questions you have. We’ll make a large general announcement as soon as we’re able to share big news!

  • Want a news worthy story on Yelp? Here we are:

    Yelp has been reeking havoc on the moving industry for all of the large markets. Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago etc, to name a few. For nearly two weeks now they have been stripping all of the top companies reviews. No no, were not talking about the regular filtering of reviews that many business owners seem to complain about. Reviews that have been up for years/ months. Some losing hundreds of reviews. This is still on going as we speak. Check it out for yourself and take a peak at one of the locations I mentioned. From my research here is a list of companies affected. This message needs to go public so all shareholders can see.

    Pure Moving company (LA and SFO)
    Excalibur Moving (LA)
    Royal Moving (LA)
    Prodigy Moving (LA)
    All Service Moving (SEA, PDX)
    2 Brothers Moving and Delivery (PDX)
    Northwest Movers (PDX)
    Willmatte Valley Moving (PDX)
    Cant Stop Moving (SEA)
    Eco Moving (SEA)
    Adams Moving and delivery (SEA)
    Super Friends Moving (SEA)
    New City Moving (CHI)
    Move- Tastic (CHI)
    LA Moving Centre (LA)

    Reach out to anyone of these companies and ask them about this email. Trust me, they are well aware.

    The most plausible reason they are mass filtering reviews that have been up for years/ months. Keep in mind these companies had hundreds of reviews prior to this. It actually happened once before about 8 months ago as well. One and the most likely scenario. Yelp wants more people to advertise with them. Small companies may be discouraged to advertise when there are too companies head and shoulders above the rest. Stripping the top companies of reviews levels out the playing field. A newer company is more likely to advertise when there aren’t a few top companies way above the rest.

    Yelp is also banking on the service industry for 20% of their revenue. I encourage all to think twice before running an adds campaign. How can someone work on building their brand when a company continues to tear it down?

    I initially posted all of this information to Yelps page in SF, but they were quick to take it down. They despise bad press.

    Contact with any questions.

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