Serious drama is unfolding online between a local coffee blogger, Robert Dall, and the giant review site Yelp. I had a brief chat with Robert on the phone about this. It seems interest from many online influencers like Rachel Nixon, Matthew Ingram and Steve Pratt was peaked. They’ve apparently contacted Robert to get the scoop on what happened. In fairness to Yelp and Crystal H, their Community Manager in Vancouver, I have not tried to contact them nor do I have their side of the story. According to Robert, he joined Yelp a few weeks ago and only started posting reviews for three days before his account was suspended. He says the Yelp people said he was “cross-spamming” the site. According to Robert, he only added a link to his blog at the bottom of the reviews he wrote. Here is an exerpt from his blog:
I was told by Crystal H. that Yelp doesn’t really like posted links ( yet still allows users to submit them). I was also told I should really yelp about more then just coffee, (which is complete reversal to what she originally asked for) I was also told I should really put some Yelp Bling on my site to show where I have been on and what I have reviewed on Yelp.
Within 48 hours of being asked to submit my two years of cafe review knowledge I was banned from the site in an email from Sydney at Yelp HQ.
I’m writing to let you know about our decision to close your account. Your user account was flagged by the Yelp community, and our support team has determined that your account has violated Yelp’s Terms of Service (http://www.yelp.ca/static?p=tos), specifically for using your account for commercial or promotional purposes.
While we don’t provide additional details about account closures, please know that we review every situation with great attention and take this matter very seriously.
Robert says he doesn’t care that his account was deleted, but that Yelp needs to be more transparent about their deal.
I wasn’t given a warning, probation told to take down what they considered offending content, I was just not wanted around anymore and deleted from the system.
It’ll be interesting to see how this story unfolds in the future. See robert’s full post on his blog.