If you’re an attorney, especially if you own a law firm, you have probably received a sales call from Yelp. To say that “aggressive” characterizes the company’s sales tactics is an understatement.
Yelp denies manipulating attorney and law firm reviews, but our own internet marketing company has seen plentiful evidence.
One firm refused to purchase advertising from a Yelp rep, and 24 hours later, the firm’s five separate five-star reviews on Yelp had been filtered – that is, made invisible to Yelp’s visitors – and only a single negative review remained.
The attorneys are convinced – their good reviews disappeared because they didn’t advertise with Yelp.
WHAT DO WE SEE AND HEAR ABOUT YELP?
The stories about Yelp all sound alike – an attorney’s reviews there change depending on whether that attorney buys Yelp’s advertising.
One of our clients, a Los Angeles personal injury firm, found their five-star reviews filtered on Yelp, with only a single one-star review visible.
When Yelp contacted the firm about advertising, the rep was told that the attorneys weren’t going to work with a company censoring their positive reviews.
After a few days, the same rep called and told the lawyers to look at their Yelp reviews. Now, the best reviews were clearly visible.
Yelp denies manipulation, and there’s no evidence that constitutes a “smoking gun,” but the coincidences are too frequent to ignore.
WHAT CAN ATTORNEYS DO?
Another marketer – not someone connected with Esteemed Lawyers of America – had a recommendation we’re going to share here with you and all the attorneys we work with, because candidly, something’s not right with Yelp.
This is the recommendation. If a Yelp rep calls you about advertising, don’t say no. We think it’s risky. Buy their advertising if you care to – some attorneys are pleased with it, others aren’t – but don’t tell Yelp no.
Instead, tell the rep that you can’t talk, to call back in two weeks (after your big case concludes) or a month (after your vacation). The excuse doesn’t matter provided it works to delay the conversation.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE WITH YELP
It’s wrong for a single company to have the power that Yelp has, because Yelp can negatively impact your reputation, and without your reputation, your practice could quickly be sunk. Yelp can hide all of the five-star reviews you’ve received and highlight only the negative reviews.
When that happens, your rating on Yelp drops down to a single star. While seeking an attorney, anyone who sees a one-star rating will look elsewhere, so saying “no” when Yelp calls about advertising isn’t worth the gamble.
If you need help with any aspect of online legal marketing, an experienced internet marketing company can help. And please tell us at Esteemed Lawyers of America about your own experiences with Yelp. Leave your comments below, and we’ll share them with others.