by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: November 24, 2015

No Yelpers Allowed!

At least that what the signs says outside of Tucson local restaurant, Vero Amore…

The sign, which hangs in large block banner letters, is right below the restaurants lettering is visible for both cars and pedestrians passing by…

Vero Amore’s owner has a purpose for this and it’s to wage a full out war with Yelp! a crowd-sourced reviews of businesses — online.

The owner of the two Vero Amore restaurants, Aric Mussman, has posted “No Yelpers” banners near both his entrances.

You may be thinking, “I bet this restaurant has poor reviews and doesn’t want Yelp to publicize them.”…

For Mussman and his restaurants that’s not the case at all as the company touts a 4 star rating on Yelp’s platform with multiple raving reviews…

So what’s the issue?

“Our reviews are great and that’s why I want to be one of the people to stand up and say something,” he said.

Where did he get the idea?

From South Park’s “You’re Not Yelping” episode. One character wearing a “Warning: Yelp Critic” t-shirt tells another, “I’m a restaurant critic. I get everything I want.”

Mussman argues that Yelp creates an online environment where people feel entitled to “bash us” and say anything without anyone “fact checking” the actual review or reviewer.

Vero Amore’s owner has big plans to create a No Yelpers movement throughout the city…

And it might not be hard to find supporters- both among patrons and owners of such establishments.

Others are skeptical that Yelp, a well-established and regularly used platform, will come to do much about the complaining of business owners

Mussman hopes a watchdog organization would surface. In the meantime, Mussman is holding Yelp fully accountable. “If you go to Yelp and say ‘Hey, these people make up lies about us.’ They don’t care.

Mussman said he’s complained numerous times. “They will help you if you advertise with them,” he said.

Yelp’s website counters that claim with this statement. “Money doesn’t buy anything but ads.”

KGUN9 reached out to Yelp. The company emailed the following statement:

“There has never been any amount of money a business can pay Yelp to manipulate reviews. Any claims that Yelp manipulates reviews for money or that advertisers are treated any differently than non-advertisers are completely false and have been repeatedly dismissed by courts of law, thoroughly researched and disproven by academic study, and investigated by government regulators, including the FTC, who closed a nearly two-year investigation without taking action.

Because of Yelp’s influence, small businesses are realizing that online reviews are incredibly important. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to frustration, when businesses that don’t like their reputation on a review site like Yelp realize they are unable to change it by trying to game the system due to our recommendation software. These businesses have only one last recourse: to discredit the site as a reliable source of information. At the end of the day, Yelp is a resource for consumers to find reliable information about how good or bad a business may be; the site would be useless to consumers if every business could buy a five-star rating.”

*Thank you to KGUN 9 for the original publication and any quotes obtained from local Tucson business owners and Yelp.


Doug Zanes
Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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