There was a time in the not-so-distant past when restaurants lived in fear of an army of amateur restaurant critics bellyaching on Yelp about servers who stopped smiling for a quarter of a second or food that was two degrees cooler than the temperature of the sun and thus not fit for human consumption. But those days are finished because nobody cares about Yelp anymore.
According to Eater, Yelp’s latest earnings call was pretty dismal due to the company’s inability to draw advertisers, which has resulted in a 30% stock plunge. A few years ago, restaurants lived and died by their Yelp reviews, but in the Instagram era, when potential diners can see the food for themselves pretty easily, Yelp matters less and less. Google reviews are also becoming more popular that Yelp reviews, and restauranteurs are taking notice:
Is Yelp Is Over?
I saw this article and was a little sympathetic with what is stated here. Since we’ve had multiple clients recently who perceive that they’ve been extorted by Yelp, it’s interesting to find similar sentiments expressed in this article:
“I opened a new restaurant a few months ago, and for every five Google reviews we get, we get maybe one Yelp review,” says Danny Teran, co-founder of the NYC-based Watson Hospitality Group. “Three or four years ago, that wasn’t the case.”
But falling advertiser revenue could also be a result of Yelp’s own shady practices coming home to roost. Many business owners say that Yelp has extorted them by creating a pay to play environment in which the company threatened to remove positive reviews if restaurants refused to buy ads or even offered to remove negative reviews for a price. The company has faced multiple lawsuits, though the Federal Trade Commission sided with Yelp and the suits were eventually dismissed.