Letter of the Week – Give Us Help From Yelp (Updated: Yelp’s Dirty Secret Exposed)


Dear ELV,

I agree with your post that Yelp has ruined food journalism.  While I don’t agree with your reviews all the time, I put much more weight into your reviews than any of the amateurs on Yelp.

But I think bemoaning Yelp in general is the wrong tactic here in your case.  I think you should use your journalistic skills to investigate why Yelp is so horrible.  As someone who has an account and has been active in the Yelp community as mostly an observer for the last 6 years, I can note that these people that are being trusted more than you are some of the most uneducated, morally bankrupt people I have ever encountered.  This goes triple for the elite squad.  I think an article (or series of articles) would give national attention to a corporate run corrupt community.

For example, one complaint I made to Yelp that landed me in hot water years ago with Misti Yang, and for which I still receive grief over today, was that the Elite Yelpers, whose reviews are weighted much more heavily than us “regular folks” do not tend to reflect the reality of a dining establishment.  That is, many of these individuals attend sponsored events which are specifically set up for Yelp members, and then review the establishment based on that experience alone.

My original complaint, with regards to this phenomenon, was regarding Sushi Goyemon, which hosted an unofficial Yelp event and then received the unanimous praise of all attendees, who described a much different restaurant than I ever attended.  I, on the other hand, was greeted with poor service and mediocre food, to say the least, when I went there.  And there have been examples, both with Misti and at present, with a new Community Manager, where those attendees who do post criticisms are not invited back to future events.  At least professional journalists tend to be more objective, and have the experience and (usually) the intellect to discern a truly good place from the crap.

In fact, at least in the case of Las Vegas, Yelp’s claim that its content is representative of “real people” is laughable at best.  Opinions and reviews which diverge from the Elite hive mind, or that are deemed offensive or incorrect, are regularly removed from the website via the flagging functionality.  Negative reviews given to restaurants which are considered trendy are reported en masse by the various cliques on the website, are deleted, and the deletion is often justified by Yelp corporate and its community manager based on a technicality, such as an inappropriate word or phrase, or the claim that the review is of an experience that is not recent enough, with no real justification.

I agree with your general commentaries, and your laments, of people placing equal value on the reviews of the often unintelligible masses on Yelp as those from professional food critics.  I even attended your lecture/debate featuring you, Misti Yang from Yelp, Al Mancini, and Brock Radke, and was firmly in the food critics’ corner.  Know that there are still plenty of us out there that value the opinions of you and others like you, and that professional food critics will always have an audience among people who care more about quality, accurate and reliable reviews, and impartiality than about following the trends.  Keep writing, and we’ll keep reading!


Yelp Yak Yoker

ELV responds:

Dear YCubed

Your concern with “hosted events” for “elite Yelpers” (whatever the heck that means) is understandable, but such bought and paid for recommendations by “reviewers” are no worse than the “hosted” dinners every food writer (save Heidi Knapp Rinella)  in this town flocks to because the cheap ass publishers of their free magazines won’t pay their expenses. (In some ways, their ethical breaches are worse since they call themselves professional critics and food “journalists” — which in this town generally means: “I beg for food to write articles for a pittance.”)

As for us, we believe everyone deserves a voice, but not everyone deserves a microphone. Yelp has the same flaws all democracies do: the shouts of the stupid often outweigh the the more measured arguments of the well-informed. The majority is not always right…and more often than not it is the most wrong….but overall, giving even a bunch 0f know-nothing hipsters a voice in telling people details about their meal has been a good thing for the food world and restaurant industry. So I can only go so far in criticizing it.

It would seem, however, that deleting negative reviews to curry favor with establishments (or give that elite set a puffed up sense of their own importance) is Tammany Hall-style governance at its worst. So any other anecdotes or information about such practices are of keen interest to him. (Our day job prevents us from having the time to delve into the  type of muckraking/exposé you suggest.)

In the meantime, ELV is happy that he has a voice, and multiple microphones. He promises to continue calling out the frauds (either behind the plate or the printed word) and thanks you for your kind words.

Best and bon appetit,



We received two “comments” about Yelp from a couple of friends (both of whom are experienced restaurateurs) which we feel merit inclusion into the body of this article.

Mario Maccioni wrote on our Facebook page: A top F & B director in Las Vegas once told me his division relies heavily on Yelp. I was so shocked I told him “God help us if we run our businesses by Yelp.” He told me, “We do.”  That factored into my decision to move back to New York.

LaPorte Haiku added this in our comments section:

As a restaurateur, I can confirm that I have NEVER been able to get Yelp to remove a single comment or “review.” Not once. I once had someone review one of my restaurants by saying “it would be better if I stood outside the restaurant and punched you in the face.” That comment was flagged by not only me, but my team at the restaurant, and it was never removed.

LaPorte continues: So here’s Yelp’s dirty little secret…

Yelp makes money off restaurants and other businesses by selling Yelp ads. This alone shouldn’t be a conflict of interest. However, Yelp runs a 1950’s style mafia protection scheme which at it’s core “helps” business owners keep their Yelp page looking it’s best. Yelp sells your direct competitors ad space on your Yelp page, unless you buy their ads. This will keep that ad space free of competitor ads. Yelp has no direct line of communication unless you buy ad space. Then you are provided with a Yelp account manager who can help you maximize your page effectiveness. When there are “reviews” of your business that you would like removed, you can’t call them, you can’t write – unless you are a paying client. In essence, if you don’t buy Yelp ads people can run amuck all over your Yelp page.

And I refuse to pay the person who is bullying me, to stop bullying me.

136 thoughts on “Letter of the Week – Give Us Help From Yelp (Updated: Yelp’s Dirty Secret Exposed)

  1. “If I’m an outsider looking for reviews of local places, why should I look to Yelp?”

    Personally, I find Yelp more helpful than a site like this mainly due to the sheer volume of reviews I can find on Yelp.

    Let’s go with the example of Sushi Goyemon. Yelp has over 600 reviews of Sushi Goyemon, with a overall average score of 4 stars. The first review was posted in April of 2011.

    That means this site has had at least 2 years to helpful information for Sushi Goyemon, however there is nothing on http://www.eatinglv.com about Sushi Goyemon. (I guess the owners have not offered Mr. Curtas a free meal yet?)

    If you are lucky enough to find a food critic that you agree with 100% of the time, congrats! I have not been that lucky, so I like to use a site that gives me the opinions of many not just the opinion of one.

  2. I’m with Jay – glad I’m not on Yelp. Sounds kind of cliquey, petty, and as ELV states, inaccurate. It all reinforces the value of this site.

  3. #51,
    Of course you are going to be pro yelp, you are proudly displaying that you are “elite” on yelp. As if that means anything other than you have no life and spend way too much time contributing to a website that could give a crap about you and your minions.

  4. Hello there Leo, glad you are here because I have a question for you. Earlier, you made this comment”

    “The small group of people that flag off real people because they are intimidated by intelligence and taste.”

    Can you please explain why Tricia M. still has her Yelp account, if what you claim is true? If a small group of people on Yelp really had the power that you are claiming they have, her account would be removed like the others.

  5. #55,
    Admitting to trying to flag off Tricia? Now you are finally telling the truth.
    And the truth is Tricias reviews are so much more well written than any of your group on the bully pulpit.

    Why is Tricia still there?
    Speculation, but probably because her account is older. Keep trying though, because hq is being made aware of malicious flagging.

    Please stay on topic from now on, and stop the excessive ranting and foot stomping.

  6. It seems that many here would rather engage in a Donnybrook Brawl; make libelous claims against others and wiretap, collect case files and imaginary data than actually address the question:

    I like and suggest Yelp, because virtually anywhere I travel, finding a gourmet burger, hotel lobby bar with best drinks, off the grid locales, dry cleaners are at my fingertips. The reviews can be set by user to “most recent” and one can choose to ignore Elite input if they choose. With Open Table it is helpful in planning ahead.

    Some folks use Yelp as a guide to their own town or in travels and stay out of the dirt with those who choose to sling it.

  7. No one has admitted to ‘trying to flag off Tricia’ it is just very obvious based both on what has been said here AND on Yelp that she is not a member of the ‘clique’. The clique that people like DocVegas accuse of getting people removed from Yelp. Clearly this is not true.

  8. First of all – thank you John Curtas for posting this letter and putting up with what the rest of us have had to put up for years here in Vegas, an entitled, spoiled, immature, unethical and corrupt Yelp Elite Squad that are currently being supported and enabled by Drew A, the latest community manager, who is corrupt himself and will be lucky to be employed by the end of the year.

    Many of you Yelpers (or Yeepers, I think I like that name better) don’t understand what a privilege it is for someone with his reputation and influence on a national scale to allow this discussion to exist right now on his website (and deserves whatever monetary benefits it gains him), and you’ve squandered it by being assholes and not even engaging in an intelligent discussion and bringing up names of people who not only Mr. Curtas doesn’t give two shits about, but no one outside of your little bubble on Yelp Talk cares about. Your pathetic attempts at trolling only further expose to the world how sad Las Vegas Yelp is.

    No one cares about debating about who is being flagged, who got their accounts closed, or any of the other contrived Yelp drama that is being perpetrated on here. So you can shut your filthy pieholes. I’m so disgusted with the behavior on here that not only am I going to start naming who posted what, but exactly who these people are, and why they are morally vile and depraved. All you’re succeeding in doing is making Yelp corporate look bad for allowing such a cancer of a “community” to metastasize in this city.

  9. I’m about 50 comments behind right now. So much Yelp drama! There has not been this much material to read on ELV all year. Let’s get a gelato at Art of Flavors later.

  10. @ the Duchess

    Had a double of rosemary EVO and hazelnut last night. Can’t stop thinking about it.

  11. The subtlety of the Rosemary/Olive Oil gelato is a sign of genius at work. But with so many comments in this thread to giggle through maybe something more substantial is needed – a scoop of pumpkin spice between two of Desyree’s chocolate chip cookies is a wonderful taste of autumn.

    (Apologies to the Yelpers for turning this back into a food discussion. Feel free to continue…)

  12. Yikes, thanks for responding to my question. It seems like I use Urbanspoon for many of the same reasons you use Yelp – the ubiquity of information on the site. (Well, and I do like Urbanspoon’s rolly-clicky thing.) One drawback to Urbanspoon is its lack of a particularly large or vibrant user community, although wading through this thread is making me consider that less and less of a downside. But it does aggregate other reviews from across the web, creating what can be a more heterogenous sketch of a restaurant. It seems that Elite, once you strip out the parts of their response that are either inexplicably slagging of Our Esteemed Host or inexplicably engaging the argument that a single (really, two+) critic website is better than a web community, which I don’t think has been advanced in this thread, makes an argument similar to yours: the Yelp community itself is so large that it create comprehensive coverage itself.

    Which raises an interesting question: does the sheer number of Yelpers substitute for the heterogeneity of opinion that you get from aggregators like Urbanspoon, Google Places, or even a simple Google web search?

  13. @Lurker NL: You bring up good points and questions. For my purposes or peculiarities, UrbanSpoon gives me too much information…I don’t need charts and %’s of who liked a place, etc. Though it might be difficult to garner from
    this thread, there are some great writers on Yelp. The format works better for me, though when planning a foodie trip, copious amounts of research from many sites, publications and Esteemed reviewers are devoured. Even a trusty, dusty actual book spine or two might be cracked during this quest for culinary, cultural and quirky finds.

    Can also just be habit, end up in a random place with a craving or need: trusty Yelp App. And, if one chooses to be an active community member it might be a good fit. There’s room for everyone and a reason each person acquires knowledge in their own way.

    Hopefully all could allow for each other to have a right to their choice without things getting ugly.

  14. So basically, all we’re seeing is a few proponents of Yelp accusing anyone critiquing the site and their participation on it, of being “trolls” and then trying to derail the topics at hand.This is exactly what goes on, on the site whenever anyone has a view divergent from that of the self proclaimed ruling clique’s consensus.

    How can there be real reviews by real people and a sense of multivocality when this kind of lynch mob mentality predominates, and the CM gives those individuals free range of the site?

    As far as the facts about certain elite thugs and their associates, screen shots don’t lie. Those individuals compromise the credibility of the site. Why should anyone trust reviews written by someone who threatens to bring a gun to an event? Or someone who crashes Yelp events just to harass other Yelpers or to spout anti-Semitic vitriol? The case of the twins was just one example of how attractive women have been harassed off of the site. Or worse yet, someone like Steve Franklin who posts positive reviews of downtown joints just to hype up the area where his business interests lay… and then goes as far as to harass and attack individuals on every social media site he’s on just because they call him out on what he’s doing? Or Stacia J who only reviews relevant to her business as a club promoter, and trolls Yelp Talk looking to hock her services? What about Teri W who attacked me in every single thread I posted in simply for the fact that I stated that hotels on the Strip have coat check services available? Or Shawn H and Cathy C who bullied me for months because I stated that toppings aren’t what make a burger great, but rather the quality of the base ingredients? CD, Roger T, Ollan A, Tu Anh T, are allowed to attack people as they please… A person’s credibility is tied to their ethics and their character.

    And as far as character goes, I commend the people who are standing up to these individuals. I don’t think they hate Yelp, on the contrary, they’d love to see the site become what it was truly meant to be.

    Also, a consistent rating on Yelp doesn’t really mean much. A consensus doesn’t equal good taste… Firefly has been a consistent favorite of the Yelp elites as well, and I remember Jessie Bonello even calling for a Yelp event to show Yelpers’ support for the restaurant even after some 80 individuals ended up hospitalized. Or the elite posses love affair with Monta and defending it’s defense of it when it had a C rating from the Health Dept….or Chef Marc’s C and B ratings. Or Penn’s Thai and Jugoo, which were shut down by the Health Dept.

    But then stating such facts gets a person labeled a troll, and harassed off the site. The problem with Vegas Yelp is that the city’s site has been hijacked by people who refuse to allow others a right to their views without things getting ugly.

    ps: Mind you, there are some diamonds in the rough and gems among Yelpers… decent, intelligent people. People who actually put effort into presenting good reviews……and, something I never thought would happen to me, but meeting the woman of my dreams on Yelp proves that love can be found even in the most hopeless of places. A warm, shining light in a darkness so cold it turns hearts to stone… Maybe some of these bitter Vegas Yelpers just need a hug…. or a room on the 4th floor at Desert Springs…

  15. DocYelp

    Every girl grows up dreaming she will be described using the first words in “Dear Penthouse” letters. Dreamy!

  16. I am a little hurt that my name was not referenced in these comments, either positively or negatively. :D

  17. @DocYelp/Reza/JohnnyO/Dr V or whoever you portray yourself to be with your multiple name changes.

    First of all I am not gonna be hiding behind an alias just to post on here. I got nothing to hide. I have only become a yelp member since 2011. So I know nothing about all these accusations that you keep bringing up. I have actually met all of those people you have called out. From my first impression they are all nice and are easily to get along with. Here’s a question: Can you have a better first impression of somebody by meeting them or just going by what you hear and see them type on a computer? In my case I have done both. Yes I have found that some people are not what they seem at all compared to in person than in the cyber world.

    What’s funny is that I have reached out to you on several occasions stating that we should hang out just to have a real conversation face to face. I also extended this invite to Tricia as well. The end result is not even a reply of no thanks or hell no or whatever.

    On Yelp Talk, you have the freedom to post whatever you want as long as its within yelp’s TOS policies. From what I learned when I first started YT, is that anything goes, whether you are the poster or responder. What replies you get are not always what you expect and vice versa. Any time I comment, it’s usually something wacky or off point sometimes but that’s just how I am. Of course I can be serious also. These are just my opinions. Whether they are wrong or right is irrelevant because it is all “subjective”.

    Now any time you respond to anybody’s comments with your own, keep in mind that your own rants can be construed as attacking or bullying as you would call it. As for me, I just look at it as a debate. Let me also get one thing clear, I HAVE NEVER FLAGGED ANYBODY WHETHER IT WAS A TOPIC, COMMENT, OR JUST THE INDIVIDUAL IN GENERAL. If you are making a fool of yourself, I don’t think I have to let anybody know. You can see it for all its worth. Especially in writing.

    How bout this. Just the mere fact that you are calling out names while we don’t even know what your real name is can be considered bullying.

    If you are gonna call me out then here I am. Everybody pretty much knows me, what I look like, etc. We don’t even know if that’s even you in the your then active yelp profile. I don’t know anybody that has met you.

    As for this “clique” everybody is talking about, I have no idea what that is. All I know is that I do my reviews based on my experience and if you don’t like it, move on. I have gone to all sorts of events and have met lots of people. Some I agree with, some I disagree with. I don’t hate on anybody if they don’t give my favorite restaurant 5 stars. That’s there opinion. I may not like it, but I will respect it.

    When you talked about Monta, Firefly, etc. about the low grades and such, I made my own conscious decision not to go to those places even though you said the Yelp “clique” said to support it. I said hell no, im not going there. Isnt that what a clique basically is? A group of people who pretty much does everything together whether positive or negative? Im obviously not in it.

    So if you are gonna spew all sorts of false accusations, say it to my face and not behind a keyboard with different names. Show me proof as well. If you prove that I am wrong, then I will be man enough to admit it unlike you with your responses of everything being subjective. Until then, KEEP MY NAME OUT OF YOUR RIDICULOUS RANTS.

    Roger T. Yelp Elite and proud of it.

  18. I used to think that yelp was everything. When I first moved to Las Vegas I commented on yelp religiously. Eventually, I gained Elite status, which I thought was really important. After two years of feeling obligated to attend events that I felt created a facade to the true nature of those establishments that hosted, I gave up. My elite status was revoked and I was kicked to the curb because I refused to be part of the gang.

    I still add reviews time and again, but I am much happier posting my own reviews on my own blog. I am very ware that my opinions aren’t ones that everyone will agree with, but I hope that my reviews inspire others to either try something new or to steer clear.

    Yelp does move businesses to success in this town, because, like Tripadvisor, the masses trust the average Joe over a true food critic. This stems from the stereotype that true critics have expensive taste, while Yelpers love the same things that non-critics love, so they’re more trustworthy. I don’t believe that. Never have. Still, I continue to write, check in, and post food photos on Yelp, either out of habit or because I hope that my review helps someone make that ever-important decision over where to eat lunch or dinner.

  19. Same opinion on Yelp reviews, same statements on Yelp Talk, same opinion on FaceBook.


    A guy that pretends to be a girl on FaceBook? Or is it a girl that pretends to be a guy named Reza, Dr. V, Johnny, Yak, Doc Yelp?

    You decide.

  20. @Trina, I never felt obligated to attend any events ever. If it was something I wanted to go to, I RSVP’d. Now just because you RSVP’d, doesn’t guarantee you a spot. I understand that this is a privilege and not a right. If I wanted to, I don’t have to go to any event period. I will continue what I have always been doing even before I became Elite. That is to continue checking in and reading reviews while doing my own review after the experience.

  21. @Yikes, funny you should mention Urbanspoon’s “x% liked it” figures. I actually used to think that it wasn’t nuanced enough since it only gives individuals the options to like or not like a place. Then a friend from college showed me some reviews on a site that used the star system (maybe Yelp?) where I could have sworn that the 3-star reviews were written by people who liked the place better than those who left 4-star reviews. Personally, it’s not so much the percentages but the “y out of z people liked it” metric that I look for–popularity isn’t a stand in for quality, but a large “z” lets me know that there’ll probably be some substantive comments in the reviews, which I think gets back to the point that Elite Yelper was making above.

    Thinking a bit more about my question on if the size of the Yelp community can substitute for the heterogeneity of the Web at large, does Yelp Corporate view it in this manner? What actually is the role of Yelp Community Managers, and what exactly is the purpose of having an Elite badge? (is this the right term?) I’d certainly appreciate it if people more familiar with Yelp could chime in.

  22. The LV Elites still haven’t been able, after all these posts, to respond to the original letter sent to Mr. Curtas. They still think he or anyone else actually cares about the petty Yelp drama. If you look at Yelp Talk, which I would not recommend, they still can’t get their head around the fact that anyone would ever think they suck.


    Of course it’s not them, they are perfect. It must be trolls, flaggers, and cyber bullies. It’s all libel! And they still only care about revealing who wrote the original post. They don’t even care about refuting it. Since they firmly have their heads up their collective asses, it’s time to call some of them out that posted here under anonymous names.

    First there is the child trapped in a woman’s body, Elizabeth Burns Kirschenbaum, who already posted here as “Old News” but gave up because she was so out of her league and couldn’t type a coherent sentence.


    She posts on Yelp every time her name is used here – as if she needs people to constantly reassure her, even though she’s one of the dumbest people to ever join the Elites. She’s so unethical and vile that people need to talk down to her and coo like a baby to get her to respond to anything said to her. She can barely write past a fourth grade level. Someone on Yelp said it best once: she’s like a rose garden with a sewer running underneath her. In essence, her insides are made of poop.

    The only one that might actually be more sick and crazy than her is Christine Marie Olds – who has most likely been posting as “Over It” on this thread.


    There’s already been a lot said about her on this thread but what you don’t know is that she used to get visibly angry when other people on Yelp used the mobile app to “check in” to businesses where she had a “Duchess” title. She got so mad that she would harass people by actually going to such businesses as Baguette Café, and slandering them to the owners. She uses the Yelp app to see where people have the most check-ins and goes there to slander them to the manager/owner. She’s also is famous for making a trip to Rachel’s Kitchen when others check in there just to threaten them to not check in to “her” business anymore, as if she owns it. She threatened to have her Zero Cool wannabe friend hack into Yelp accounts using the Luxor Hotel and Casino network. She’s threatened to beat people up at unofficial Yelp events. She acts like she went to the John Gotti School of Etiquette. She just this week posted the full name and address of another person in Yelp Talk and in her check-in “tips” multiple times and didn’t so much as get a slap on the wrist for doing so from Drew Applebaum. None of the other Elites seemed to think there was anything wrong with this. Now they are scared that when Christine loses her Yelp account, let alone her Elite badge, she’ll be coming around to try to burn their house down. And she’s so crazy, she might just do it.

  23. @Lurker NL: funny how two people can look at the same thing, drawing differing conclusions and yet discuss politely. Statistical analysis and logic are things oft applied to my career, yet not my foodie quests. Of course there are lauded places aka French Laundry, Fleur and Chez Panisse which I adore along with the masses. But, on Yelp, I was drawn in by (new to Las Vegas but well traveled gourmand) Michael U.’s reviews for their taste, prose and lack of pretension.

    My only suggestion would be to peruse the Yelp site, look at the most prolific contributors and see if they don’t make you want to try (bookmark) a locale. It really is all about sharing the love of great food to me. To some, this means fast food all day every day. To each his:her own.

    As to the inner workings of Yelp itself, I am not sure. Community Managers have the uneviable (at times) task of being police and party thrower concurrently. Cannot or would not even speculate on HQ practices and procedures. Perhaps someone more estute will chime in. Hope any of this was helpful to you.

  24. Roger, I saw the screen shots of you making lewd and misogynistic comments regarding the twins. You also have a habit of belittling people and derailing topics. When the boyfriend of a girl who was harassed off the site stated he wanted to attend an event for the purpose of asking specific Yelpers why they harassed his girlfriend and bullied her off the site, you threw a cyber fit. Although you were no where near as bad as Tom F….You’re like a passive aggressive version of Edwin P….

    And you’re resorting to the same old tired line… calling me a troll or claiming I’m not a real person doesn’t negate any of the facts that I’ve stated. In fact, all you’re doing is exemplifying the attitudes I’m being critical of.

    I find the Yelp thread regarding this blog post extremely amusing….it just exemplifies what everyone has been saying about Yelp…the paranoia, harassment, arrogance, vitriol…delusional behavior. Sorry, but these are the last people whose recommendations I’d trust.


  25. I’m impressed at all the responses to an article regarding Yelp and I can’t believe all the hostility from people trying to justify their opinions and standings on said network. That being said, Yelp can go the way of toilet paper in my opinion. Too many uneducated experts spouting knowledge and insight about things they barely scratch the surface on understanding. Please find me a paid expert to review something objectively that has nothing to lose from an objective assessment of an establishment or product . Personally, I as a consumer, pay no attention to Yelp.

  26. @Reza or whatever name you choose to go by, again, where is the proof you are claiming. “I saw the screenshots”. That’s great. Where is it? Instead, you put up a link of the Yelp thread talking about this very discussion. Every one of your rants you cant back it up. Read my post again. So you claim that you are a real person? Real people don’t use fake names. Real people don’t make stuff up and have no proof to justify it. You have the nerve to call out real people but you still hide behind you keyboard? You have been in your fantasy world for so long now that you are confused as to what is fact and what is fiction.

    You obviously crave attention by reiterating the same thing over and over again to the point you bet banned. Which drives you to look for other portals to keep stroking your ego. By antagonizing other people, you get your satisfaction. Most if not all your YT posts have pretty much been all about you. Then, you get offended when people tell you their opinions which starts the fire and then you say you get bullied.

    So from this point on, I am just going to ignore you because YOU are the bully because of all your lies. Whatever you say to me or anybody else is not going to hold any merit whatsoever. To those reading this, I encourage you to ignore him as well. Refer to my two posts on here and it will verify whatever crap this unknown person is making.

    Now if you will excuse me, I have a real life to get to with other real people with real names that don’t crave attention by making crap up. Goodbye Dr Imaginary. I hope you get the mental help you need. Denial is usually the first sign.

  27. It seems based on this same thing happening over and over on YT and here that it must be Reza/DrV so on and on. I do also believe that there is more than one person on yelp speaking how they feel and telling the truth at the same time. We have gotten so off topic that we keep pointing this at Reza and taking away from the fact that there are certain people using yelp for all the wrong reasons. Yelp is meant for us to share our personal experiences, photos, tips and welcome EVERYBODY at events. Instead there are people who see it as facebook or twitter and spill everything going on with them on yelp. Most of what shared has to be either exaggerated, or a cry for attention. These are the same people who reach out to other people on yelp begging for help, getting them involved into a tangled web that they first created. I believe people are turning here to write the truth or how they really feel based on what they observe from yelps site itself. If they did it on yelp they would be flagged off or not liked. Active yelpers see who participates in YT and who does not. Active yelpers see who keeps spewing lies and crap and who never pays attention to it. I haven’t written a review on yelp in almost a month because lost my writing spark with all of the hostility. How about everyone just stop the hateful comments, get to know someone first before trusting what someone else says even if you know that person, enjoy yelp!!!!!!!! Geez.

  28. I just want to say thanks to ‘Yikes’ for the shout out above. Lets go get some grub sometime and spread rumors and conspiracy theories!!

    “Statistical analysis and logic are things oft applied to my career, yet not my foodie quests. Of course there are lauded places aka French Laundry, Fleur and Chez Panisse which I adore along with the masses. But, on Yelp, I was drawn in by (new to Las Vegas but well traveled gourmand) Michael U.’s reviews for their taste, prose and lack of pretension.

    fwiw, I didn’t like Chez Panisse café at all – talk about pretension. :-)

  29. Holy lord JESUS, what the heck happened here? Discussion about the merits (or overwhelming lack of) Yelp became some bizarre 20-way divorce proceeding, complete with paid shills and someone pretending to be Tony Hsei. Only took 24 comments for someone to get called anti semetic. Everyone hold still while Norman Rockwell gets his paints out of the car.

    You guys, jeez. People caring so much about yelp in here, like it’s 2007 or something.

  30. I think tetsoro, oooops I mean reza and Tricia need to get a life and stop obsessing on a group of people that don’t like them and care nothing about them. Don’t go away mad………. Just go away

  31. Yelp has software that eliminates bad reviews for certain businesses. After a particularly horrid experience at a local auto dealer – I wrote a bad review and Yelp moved it to a “not recommended page” that users must click on fine print at the bottom of the page to see these reviews. Obviously, few users do this. When you see the overwhelming bad reviews this business has on that page – I am forced to believe that Yelp only allows the good reviews for this business. I do not trust Yelp anymore and encourage you to use any power you have to expose their problems. They are not a consumer friendly resource.

  32. @Yikes: “funny how two people can look at the same thing, drawing differing conclusions and yet discuss politely.” I know, right? Perhaps this can serve as an example to some of your more uh, enthusiastic, friends?

    “[L]ook at the most prolific contributors and see if they don’t make you want to try… a locale.” This is pretty much how I currently use Urbanspoon, although I find reviewers to follow after looking up particular restaurants and only in turn find other restaurants–I had to visit four different cities in Texas in the course of two months recently and one particular review for a place in one town led me to a few other great restaurants that, because of their thin profiles on Urbanspoon (and Yelp, for that matter) I would not have otherwise tried.

    Would it be fair to say that from a user perspective (vice participant) there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between Yelp and any other site or aggregator?

    @Michael: I’ll have to look up your reviews; I’m headed back to Vegas this Thanksgiving to see family and we’re looking for new places to try.

  33. There’s a lot of hostilities going around but the mere fact that people decided to bring up personal issues within Yelp onto another forum I think speaks more about those people than those they want to drag through the mud.

    Yelp doesnt post peoples last names, just our initials. To know peoples First, middle, and last names means this person had to have searched on Facebook and attempted to look all these people up. That is a bit creepy and it’s taking it too far when you breach peoples privacy while staying under a veil of many profiles/names.

    For the sake of what? We have clashing personalities and opinions, but does that make “the other side” a bad person? No. This person/people who want to make it seem like they are bullied debate with equal ferocity and has a combative attitude on Yelp Talk. And God forbid any one person agrees with the one she/he is debating with – then it becomes a “clique”. The biggest difference is some of the Elites have let it go once the argument is over…but clearly it’s not the case for the other side. There were names brought up that havent even had a Yelp Talk presence in months because they’ve grown tired of this back and forth and have stayed away.

  34. @Lurker – just click my name. Links to the blog. Not to steal John’s traffic or anything – I don’t create controversy at my place. :-) It’ll let you skip Yelp since you don’t seem to love it much, anyhow.

  35. This isn’t about clashing opinions or personal issues. It’s about the fact that Vegas Yelp’s CM allows the harassment and bullying of those not in tune with Vegas’ self proclaimed ruling clique. These people act as if the false consensus they’re attempting to create is somehow representative of what the actual majority of Vegas Yelpers agree with. The fact that these people are allowed to harass and cyber bully people off the site, crash events, threaten others, etc. reflects directly on the credibility(or lack of) of the Vegas Yelp community.

    I really love how after spilling so much vitriol, they attempt to side track and pretend like they actually respect anyone different from themselves. And apparently, the elite clique never lets it go. How many years is Tricia being harassed for her negative review of Goyemon? About a week ago, Steve Franklin made a fake profile and claimed that I was Tricia. The fact that the elites are on this very page doing nothing but continuing the same attacks that we were subjected to on Yelp says a lot about them. But the difference is, no one has to worry about you flagging them and having their posts removed on here, like you constantly do on Yelp. But let me guess, bringing these problems up makes a person a troll. Wanting Yelp Vegas to be a welcoming, positive place makes them haters…

    As far as Dana Spahic, Christie Olds, Jessie Bonello, Elizabeth Lirschenbaum, Jade Wade(who actually begged people on her friend’s list to flag Yasmin T off the site via private messages), and a few other women who are constantly intimidated by any woman who is more attractive or garners more attention than they do…. their flagging and constant harassment of other women on Yelp is no secret. Please stop pretending like no one knows what’s going on. You’re creating a hostile environment that no one should be forced to deal with. It’s about time you were called out on it.

    You’re the Queen Bitch Dana, so this one’s for you….




    & to think……what Yelp has to say about it elite squad….”Oftentimes we get asked how folks become Yelp Elite and we have this handy Yelp Elite page you can always refer to. While there’s no set check list, overall we look for someone who is a stellar Yelp community member – both online and off – and role model to yelpers, new and old. “

  36. @Michael: well, I tracked down your Yelp profile before I saw your most recent post and the directions to your blog. Do you update the two in tandem?

    “…since you don’t seem to love [Yelp] much, anyhow.” I’m not sure where you’re getting that from; it certainly wasn’t my intention in asking my questions.

  37. I have a particular gripe. Actually two…since there seems to be some “important” Yeeps on here I will give it a shot.

    1. A review for a restaurant I have interest in is clearly a review for a restaurant at another casino. I flag the message and even though the body of the review clearly refers to another casino, the review is determined to be someones opinion. That is correct, however it is their opinion about another restaurant.

    2. A review for a restaurant done by an elite gives me one star. I read the review and the elite member clearly states that they did not even eat in the restaurant because the “line was too long”. So now I am cursed with a one star review because my restaurant is popular???

    Thats as crazy as some of the posts on here. I guess I will continue to make good food since if you pull up the #1 one restaurant in LV on Yelp it is the one I responsible for. That speaks louder than biased reviews ever will.

    Come see me and say Hi.

  38. Apologies for comments that showed up late — our spam filter flags comments with links and I just now got around to approving them.

    We appreciate the civil discourse (at least by internet standards).

  39. Chef Etal.

    Let me clue you in on another dirty secret of Yelp. Some (I’d guestimate about 33%) of the Elites, once provided an Elite badge, feel a sense of entitlement that affects their behaviour and reviews going forward. They actually believe that they are semi-amateur food critics and grace restaurants with this attitude even if they wouldn’t know the difference between purina and foie gras or a pan pizza from a deep dish. There are numerous reviews I’ve seen where restaurants are bashed just because a server did not come quickly or often enough, regardless if that person is as high maintenance as Sally (picture the salad-ordering scene from When Harry Met Sally.) And it’s not just restaurants:


    It’s too bad that one of the ‘chosen’ reviewed your place in that manner. Perhaps that ‘Elite Yeeper’ could’ve actually read the Yelp reviews and quick tips of your establishment and realized that long lines were to be expected before even venturing to said establishment. Of course, that would require basic reading skills and actually using Yelp for something other than self-promotion.

    – Captain Obvious

  40. @Chef – I hear ya and I never understand how/what gets flagged or taken down. I’ve not been to your Oyster Bar but I’ve heard MANY complaints from chefs who somehow get knocked down a peg (or a star) based on people having to wait in a line. Perhaps heightened expectations come with having to wait for food and by the time they reach the counter (or give up waiting) they feel the need to bash. As to the review of another spot showing up for yours, it happens sometimes and it seems they never remove these reviews (or useless pictures.) My guess is that Yelp doesn’t hire enough agents to police this.

    At some point I’m stopping by for a pan roast at a ridiculous time like 5am after my morning run. :-)

    @Lurker – the blog has been going for years, I just copy/paste to Yelp. Both review sets are always months behind due to travel and a ‘real’ job. :-)

  41. I look at yelp for discovery, but also take in for its inaccuracy of being credible as a site useful enough to reference to any besides myself or questionable dining party that may accompany.

    When you have reviews that degrade a business not on course of its service (which if your not paying $75-100pp, you should worry about how awful of a listener your waittress at said corporate chain diner.) due to living/working in a customer service driven town. If you happen to be the fortunate few who do not work in a customer based job, then, sure service can be judgable. Imo it should not be. (In a job where high expectations of great customer service is to be warranted, I could care less if the hostess/server fudged up my last name when he pronounced it.)

    Aside from this nuisance and others that arrive in their reviews: napkins not being folded right at table, sketchy neighborhood = negative star, bad strip mall/location degrades a restaurant, decor of restaurant, etc. Does not merit nor contribute, but to let you know that snobby people who are satisfied w/ their $6 burger at their favorite fast food place is in higher regards then the format lunch/dining affairs.

    Imo: food quality / taste / originality / quantity should substantiate your reviews. Unfortunately, like many anonymous review websites, you as the physical person would never have to visit the establishment to write a poor or positive review. Anyone can sign up, make a fake account to ‘troll’ a business that didn’t cater to their expectations and receive no penalty for doing so. However, a business might suffer to the injustice.

    This accounts for many sites that allow for a free-easy sign up w/ no accountability for its users if they plan to spew vitroil or defame a business/restaurateur like wise.

    Thus syndicate/published sites get a bit more recognition then the yelp community.

    Also to throw in, if you enjoy goyemon, but forget to know of its parent propietor (sushi mon), then clearly you missed john curtas take on how an ayce sushi place stands a bit above the sub standard grade of fish served a-plenty in ayce spots.

    To live well, one must eat well.

    You either know quality or you don’t. You can be ignorant and never step beyond the boundries of what your accustomed to. Without ever acknowledging there are greater venues to visit.

    On the note of goyemon, I’ve been twice. On a week of its opening which was awful. Undercooked unagi (ew), huge blob rice rolls of sushi creations devoid of any originality (also terribly cut in size quantity), bad sushi chefs that are clearly not hired for their expertise in the craft of sushi making but to fill the line with clueless hacks tarnishing any real sushi chef out there. The quality of fish and rice to vinegar ratio is also a negative for me.

    But what would I know? I’ve eaten at blue ribbon lv, kabuto, morimoto nyc, social house lv (TI post), yellowtail, raku , mozen for sushi. While excellent places that are no where feasibly in range of comparison to the likes of “ayce” grade sushi joints, for passable to me would be sushi mon on silverado/maryland.

    The only thing I can credit yelp for is a breakfast I absolutely love in hollywood, ca, but it will soon be here and by vegas standards crush what affair I have established for it. Cause this city is atrocious for breakfast eateries.

  42. ”Oftentimes we get asked how folks become Yelp Elite and we have this handy Yelp Elite page you can always refer to. While there’s no set check list, overall we look for someone who is a stellar Yelp community member – both online and off – and role model to yelpers, new and old. “

    This coming from Dana Spahic who also threatened to bring a gun to a Yelp event… funny.




  43. Hey Mr. C — you might want to post a restaurant review now that you’ve got all these new readers, just to show them how it’s done. Better yet, plug the ELV 50 guide, it might be your best shot at bringing it back.

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