A Year After Restaurant Owner Asked Me To Change Yelp Review, Things Got Weird

Image courtesy of colonelchi
(photo: colonelchi)

(photo: colonelchi)

You may remember reader Mark, who left a bad Yelp review for a local tavern back in 2013, then received a request from the business’s new owner asking him to change or remove the review. Mark declined. That was a year ago: the owner apparently went through his Yelp inbox recently to rage at correspondents. Here is our gift to small business owners: another cautionary tale about how not to handle your online presence.

To refresh your memory, here’s the original message that Mark received a year ago, several years after reviewing a local restaurant.


Hey Mark my name is Joe I own [redacted] I just bought it in April 2014 trying to clean up my yelp any chance you could take your post down
Thank You joe

Maybe if the new owner had asked more nicely, he would have considered it, but that didn’t happen. Mark let the review stand. He didn’t return to the restaurant.

Then he heard from the owner a year later. Reading between the lines, it sounds like the owner was contacted by Yelp, possibly by an ad sales representative. He claims that the representative asked him to effectively pay Yelp to make bad reviews go away, a frequent allegation that the Federal Trade Commission and businesses that have sued Yelp haven’t been able to produce evidence of the alleged shakedowns.




Here’s a transcript. We have not cleaned up spelling, grammar, or punctuation.

Joe: OK thank you Mark! So you can see how little I care about yelp I didn’t even realize you ever even replied to me. In fact yelp contacted me to let me know that if I wanted to pay to have them manage my account that I could have your review taken down which confirms my beliefs about Yelp that it’s just a big scam. If you read the reviews on trip advisor and most of the reviews on yelp you’ll see that the [redacted] is actually a thriving business that does over 3 million a year in sales.

Joe: I acutally don’t believe you even stepped foot in the [redacted] I think you were just angry that someone cut you off and flipped you off. Apparently you must be bored seeing how many reviews you have written
continued success with your yelping!!

Mark: I’m sorry you believe that and your customer service skills are extremely poor. Your sarcastic comment is very mature and I’m sure your business is thriving because of your professional demeanor. Well handled sir.

Joe: Tell you why I believe that you weren’t even in I’m going to give you a complement all of your reviews are very descriptive and explain a lot. the one on the [redacted] was so blah just negative I know you weren’t there! You should just fess up come down and eat there and write a real review

Joe: Not to mention most of your review wasn’t even about the restaurant it was about a driving experience

Joe: Just fess up you know it’s true

Joe: Oh and why no photo ??? Hmmmmmmm!

Joe: If u notice I only have one friend on yelp it is U ! You are the only one that wrote a negative review that I reach out to because yours is the only one that is FAKE !!

Mark: It was short because it was disappointing. I’m sorry your restaurant was sub par for us and didn’t warrant a positive review. Your accusations are unfounded and frankly reek of desperation to unrighteousness fix a wrong. Instead of taking my thoughtful response and working with me to find a resolution, you have unfortunately decided to attack me instead. I’ve put up one photo ever, wow man you got a smoking gun. I’m excited to see you on Restaurant Impossible one day groveling for a handout.

Joe: Come on just tell the truth!!!

Joe: Lol see how good your writing skills are that’s why I know u are a liar !!

Joe: If you saw my tax returns you would know you will never see me on restaurant impossible !!

Joe: Mark you know I’m not lying you can tell you’re the only person I have ever friended on yelp I just didn’t want to be held hostage by yelp and have to pay to have your review taken down not to mention I was just bored that day like I am now. There are some very legitimate bad reviews about the [redacted] unfortunately yours is a fake

Joe: Come on Mark just tell the truth we both know you wouldn’t written a more descriptive review!!

Maybe you should just make up another one I’m sure it will be nothing less than entertaining!!

Joe: By the way I own for other restaurants that I would love to read a fake review about [lists restaurants, which we have redacted] They are all far away from other places you haven’t reviewed so you will have to make them up also

Business owners, stay away from Facebook while angry. Or bored, apparently. Just stay away.

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