I went to a hookah lounge the other day just to relax and hang out with my girlfriend.
This is a hookah lounge that I’ve been visiting once in a while for the past year now and I’ve gotten to the know the owner a bit since he’s always out on the floor greeting customers making sure everyone is having a good time and things are going smoothly.
He’s a super cool dude and he, along his entire friendly staff, is one of the reasons I keep coming back (the hookah is good too).
Well, that night he came out and I, as I tend to do, asked him about his business and we just started shooting the breeze. He told me about his marketing plans including happy hour, $5 off coupons, trying to get the city to permit him to carry liquor license, rebranding it as a “restaurant” rather than a “lounge” (there’s more profit in food than hookah).
And well, one thing led to another and Yelp came into the discussion. (And BOY was that a hot-button for him!)
I asked if he was offering rewards for reviews and check-ins via Yelp because I noticed his Yelp listing only had 16 reviews and was sitting at only 3.5 stars.
He shook his head and said he tried that but it’s not working. I asked him what he means by “it’s not working” and that’s when he revealed that he has over 60 reviews that have been “filtered” and of those, like 50 of them are 5 stars. But on the actual public Yelp profile, only 16 reviews are displayed which shows his rating at 3.5 stars (when in reality, if all the “filtered” reviews are accounted for, he’d easily have 4.5 stars and not to mention a lot more social proof with 75+ reviews.
But he wasn’t done… he also disclosed that he gets a call from Yelp once every month or two and it’s the same pitch… “We see that you have only a 3.5 star rating, if you advertise with us, we can help you improve on that rating.”
He, being the owner of a marketing company as well, refused the offer (guess he didn’t like the idea of being extorted…) and well, his rating remains a measly 3.5 stars which sucks because his service, hookah, and food are so much better than that.
Here’s yet ANOTHER example of Yelp practicing extortion. And looking at all the comments on my blog post, “A Candid Yelp Advertising Review – Is Yelp Ripping People Off?” he’s one of the MANY business owners who are being extorted and are PISSED about it.
And for more examples of the “darker side of Yelp”, take a look at this article CBS MoneyWatch author, Erik Sherman, wrote after interviewing me: When Yelp advertisers yelp at rates.
C’mon Yelp, get your act together and start being ethical and accountable. These allegations of Yelp engaging in shady sales practices are warranted, no matter how much Vince Solitto, VP of Yelp (and some of Yelp’s lovely sales-folks who like to come visit my blog and, with a fabulous display of uncontrollable emotions that is devoid of logic, attempt to attack me personally) try to deny them.
Happy 2012! Hope your first quarter is off to a good start, mine was a whirlwind for sure – through the good and the bad, it was all for the best.
Most recently, I just got back from a short business trip to Miami where I, among 5 other successful business folks, taught a room full of bright and ambitious entrepreneurs the ins-and-outs of building a successful home business online (and offline). My specific portion had to do with driving online traffic (a topic I am very passionate about).
I love these business trips for several reasons. One is because well, it’s a chance for my business partner and I to get out from behind our computer monitors and interact with live people *GASP* and get in touch with the real world *DOUBLE GASP*
We get to meet new cool folks, connect with other like-minded individuals and refill our EQ (emotional quotient). Beyond that we get to regroup with some of our very favorite associates who live all across the United States (and some even outside the US).
When we get together, we catch up on our lives and we can’t help ourselves but mastermind and come up with new cool business ideas which ultimately help all of us move our business onward and upward.
And of course… when you get a bunch of us extreme entrepreneurs with extreme “if I am going to do something doggone it I am going to do it 100% and then some!” attitudes together, we some GREAT fun!
The Lesson From Miami
I am not here to tell you about the craziness that took place in Miami (suffice to say it was a lot of fun and I promise you no cute animals were injured in the process) but I am here to impart to you a lesson that dawned on me during my visit to Miami.
It has to do with role models.
Hopefully you have some role models you look up to, whether they may be historic figure, a favorite teacher/professor of yours, your own parents, uncles, and other relatives, or mentors that have helped shape you in one way or another. These are folks that you admire and perhaps even model yourself after. These are like “heroes/heroines” in your eyes.
And I say great! Through these heroes/heroines you can learn not only what they’ve done to achieve the level of success that they have and become the people of character (I hope) that they are, but also learn of the mistakes that they’ve made along the way so you don’t make the same.
It’s healthy and progressive to have role models.
I definitely have several in my life.
Here’s the thing though… a person can be your role model but he/she isn’t necessarily a role model in every aspect of life – and it’s imperative that you make those distinctions.
For example, a role model may “have it together” financially, but when it comes to fostering relationships, he/she may falter in that area. You may wish to “model” yourself after him/her financially but I caution you to rethink about modeling yourself after him/her when it comes to relationships. You can compartmentalize up your life any which way, the important thing is to evaluate each of your role models as he/she performs in each of these “compartments.”
And at the end of the day, take only the best of these compartments from your role models and seek to learn and model yourself from these most successful compartments from the most successful mentors.
Ultimately, just because a person is a role model of yours doesn’t mean he/she is perfect in every way – pick and choose whom you model after AND what aspects of his/her life you wish to model after.
And with that… young Jedi, you’ll go far in life
Just saw this inspiring and awesome image the other day and had to share…
Bill Gates is officially my new hero – even better than Batman lol