Closing a chapter


After 7+ years as a member of Yelp, I closed my account this week. Over the course of those seven years, I visited and reviewed more than 1,000 businesses, shared 800+ photos, made dozens of friends, and went to countless events around the city.


I was an Elite member of Yelp for five years, which was pretty fun for a while. We had an outstanding community manager who hosted over-the-top events for not only the Elite members, but the general members as well. I'll probably never forget the insanely decadent dinner at Heritage Tavern or the Chef's table meal at Cento events. I wound-up befriending our community manager and have really enjoyed that friendship. He recently moved-on to a new position with Yelp and now works in Chicago (and travels a lot).

Yelp has changed a lot over the years. Some for the good, some for the not-so-good.

They added some neat statistical information, as you can see from the photo above. It blows me away that my reviews have been viewed 266,000 times over the past 90-days. That's just inconceivable to me.

Unfortunately, they seemed to have become so focused on "growing" the community that they've diluted many of the great things. It used to be that you really had to work hard to be recognized as an Elite member. Now, it seems as though anyone who asks for it can become an Elite member. I've seen people with 2-3 months experience on Yelp become Elite (and with only a handful of reviews, friends, or contributions). I don't understand it.

With the growth, there have been a number of trolls and/or mean folks that have joined and have tried to disrupt Yelp. A few particular users really made a mess of things, and I tried my best to investigate and report details to Yelp, with the interest of stopping the malicious behavior. Yelp's response was a non-response. They didn't say a peep, and they did nothing. That's super frustrating, especially as a person who's proud to live in Madison and loves so much about this wonderful city. It seemed to me that Yelp could've cared less.

The events have gone from elaborate to pedestrian. From roast suckling pig with macerated berries, root vegetable puree, and exclusive hand-made cocktails, to cold-cuts, veggie trays, and boxed wine. The nature of the events also shifted in a direction that stopped interesting me; less mixer/mingle and more "sit and watch."

I also burned-out and started to feel jaded about many businesses. Rather than enjoy the experience, I felt like I was taking notes for an exam. It felt more like a job than a benefit or service.

Finally, Yelp's technical directives seem to be quite poor. They are placing a huge emphasis on their mobile app, but the mobile app is sorely lacking in functionality. Why force us to use an application that only does about 1/3 what the "full" site does? It's ridiculous.

And so, I bid Yelp farewell. It was a great experience, but it was time to move on.

Update: when I asked Yelp to close my account, I had to jump through a few hoops to have it closed, including provide feedback to them under the guise that they were interested to see if there was anything they could to to help. I gave them a super detailed list of concerns and gripes. They responded with, "We hate to see you go but thanks for your contributions." (That was literally it... nothing more, nothing less.) You're welcome, Yelp.

And to those who have contacted me via e-mail and text - thank you for the notes and your interest in what happened. I really did burn out and just became too frustrated to stay active on Yelp. Alas, I have this blog (it's been around for 12 years now), and I'll use it to share review, thoughts, and general life impressions/feelings.

Thank you, all. :-)

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on April 15, 2016 9:03 AM.

Old houses... Oye. was the previous entry in this blog.

Well, now I'm sad... is the next entry in this blog.

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