For Writing-Related Business Owners With Yelp Pages: A Warning
Yelp reviews are to business owners what Amazon is to authors. The importance of reviews cannot be overstated. They provide the invaluable momentum that aids a PR campaign and ensures its swift success.
Today when I searched for "Book Publicity By Marlan" on Yelp, it failed to show up as a listing option. As a business owner, I've had this page for about 6 years, but rarely think to check on it. I then tried the link that I have on file and...voila!
But alas...I soon found out that I am the only one who can see it! Why?
The fellow I spoke with in "Advertising" (the only phone number actually showing anywhere on Yelp's contact info) explained that it's "because you're a 'freelancer' and not an actual business owner." I offer services as an independent contractor, as do many other services listed on Yelp (yoga classes, anyone?). But unless you're "brick and mortar" (right, nobody does business in cyberspace), "Your business is not a good fit for us."
Translation: "We can't sell you ads because your business is so small, you probably get clients through word of mouth or referral--or by someone landing on your Yelp biz page and reading reviews on it--so you won't lay down hundreds of dollars for our ads."
When I asked if I could change the page to a non-business-owner site: "No."
Here's what it means for you, if you have a small business listed on Yelp and you refuse to buy advertising:
- You may still see your Yelp Page (if you can find it through a link
you saved). But it may only be visible to you. If you can't find it when
you search Yelp, it's not really there.
- Search for your business name regularly on Yelp, and call them if
you can't find it. They won't be able to change it, but at least you
won't live in a dream world, imagining that your Yelp reviews are being
seen and the page is "active."
- It's advisable to take screenshots of your business page. You never know what the courts will consider "evidence."
Protect yourself. "Stay Woke."
PS – I asked why there was an ad for someone else’s PR services on my Yelp page when it’s invisible. The answer: “Oh, they won’t have to pay unless someone clicks on it.”