Saturday, September 8, 2007

Pay Per Yelp

Despite their misleading tagline, "Real People, Real Reviews", Yelp pays people to post Worse, yet there is no disclosure on these paid hacks, so you have no idea who is real or who is a plant.

Even more interesting are the comments below the article including one from founder, Jeremy Stoppelman, who says that the article "misrepresented our marketing programs by insinuating that users often interact with paid shills and that's simply not the case."

Thanks Jeremy, but it just doesn't jive with your craig's list job posting: Hiring Witty Writers with Flair for Social Networking”:

"This critical role includes:

· Writing witty and insightful reviews of all the places you frequent.

· Getting your well-written friends (and their friends to join Yelp and start writing

· Moderating the Talk Boards, creating Lists, sending Compliments, and generally being a model Yelp community member

· Spreading the word about Yelp to the broader community.

The right candidate:

a. Knows Atlanta’s hot spots and influencers

b. Is extremely well-written

c. Is one of those “connectors” that makes other people want to follow them.”

Hey Jeremy,

So let me get this straight. Your "marketing assistants" "critical role" is for " Writing witty and insightful reviews of all the places you frequent."

here's the definition of shill:

1.a person who poses as a customer in order to decoy others into participating, as at a gambling house, auction, confidence game, etc.

Thanks for the update Jeremy. You have confirmed for everyone Yelp hires paid shills.

"Real Shills, Paid Reviews."

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Yelp pays "marketing assistants" to post

yelp pays "marketing assistants" to post. These marketing assistants do no disclose their identity on the site, so you don't know who is a "plant" and who is not.

check out this business week article

" echnology/content/dec2 006/tc20061207_915943. htm

"Here's how it works: To help get established in a new locale, Yelp recruits paid "marketing assistants," to promote the site not only through everyday interaction, but also by kicking off online discussions and adding comments to other people's reviews to encourage reviewers to keep up the good work. Essentially, they help make Yelp appear to be a vibrant and outgoing community in hopes that it will actually become one. In some cities, higher-level community managers handle some of those same tasks, but also coordinate social events."

Interesting to note in their very own FAQ

"Additionally, to combat review "spam" and ensure the trustworthiness of Yelp ratings we have a system that automatically suppresses a very small number of reviews written by folks that aren't a part of our vibrant local community"

Oh, I get it now. Spam from Yelp is OK, but other's are not. Nice!
Some good old fashioned community building for ya!