yelp me out here!

sorry for the rant, but yelp hates me.

and if you are a small business, chances are that they hate you, too.

i am not talking about the reviewers (they love me! all five stars!). i’m talking about the actual app and how it is nefariously and deliberately aligned against small business. very un-yoga-like.

it’s hard enough flying solo in this yoga universe, making a career and a name for myself without ever affiliating with a studio. but yelp makes it even harder by (a) hiding a very large percentage of my reviews (or posting, i should say, as “not recommended” if you dig far enough and seek them out), and (b) having no support or human review process to sort the wheat from the chaff.

in addition to four (count them on one hand, even if you are missing a finger) posts like the one on the screenshot here, i have 29 thoughtful five-star reviews “that are not currently recommended”. that’s 88% of my reviews! now, when you see the words “not currently recommended”, do you think “hey, let’s click here and see what they say!”? no need to answer that.

if you look at the yelp posting guidelines, you are not allowed to post anything that is inappropriate, represents a conflict of interest, is promotional or irrelevant, compromises privacy, contains intellectual property, or demands payment. and so, it stands perfectly to reason that introspective yogis and  yoginis who take the time and effort to write comprehensive and thoughtful reviews should all be censored from my page.

let’s compare that to, say, yogaworks (montana) with 162 posted reviews and 33 not recommended (18%). or core power (brentwood) with 204 posted reviews and 15 not recommended (7%). or bikram (downtown) with 239 posted and 36 not recommended (13%). do you see a pattern here? seems fair.

among my rule-breaking reviews are posts like:


I had been practicing for 2 years when I came to Shana’s YTT last July 2017. It truly was fate and the universe that guided me to her. It was a serious whirlwind of 3 days to scurry to make sure I made it in time to attend. I’M SO GLAD I SCURRIED!

This teacher training was indeed intensive but extremely rewarding. I walked away with a broader knowledge of not only the asana practice but the deeper meaning of yoga. From the spiritual aspects to how it may be misunderstood in our modern times. I don’t think it’s your cookie cutter training, she seriously makes you think critically. I learned more than I ever thought I would know. The alignments and adjustments she taught me has transformed my practice and being able to share it with those ive taught, seeing their happy smiles when they’ve realized it makes sense, ugh, it’s indescribable! I have grown not only on a physical level but I feel more mentally nourished.

The training has made me feel more alive! It helped me bust out of myself and blessed me with meeting so many beautiful, amazingly great people along the way. I have gained a whole new little yoga family.

Thank you Shana for pushing me to the edge, for believing in me and never allowing us to second guess ourselves. Thank you for being so welcoming to all of us of every size, shape, belief and what have you. You are the real deal teach, I will be forever grateful for all the lessons I’ve acquired on this magical journey. I will see you soon for mini yogis training!!!


or the equally offensive and clearly unacceptable:

“I could write books about why Shana is amazing. She is sincere, loving, caring, intelligent, funny, and, most importantly, super rad at yoga. I have taken her teacher training for mini yogis as well as my 200-hour teacher training through YOGAthletica, which was especially amazing. I went into the training with a set of expectations about what I would learn, and her training exceeded any expectations I had. It was a powerful two-week immersion program that absolutely changed my life for the better, and I would do it all over again in a second. I consider Shana to be my yoga coach, and I know that I can always continue to go to her for advice about anything from class lesson plans to yoga etiquette. She is my master teacher, my inspiration, and I will always be extremely grateful for her.”

and 27 others just like it that could really help my business if they were posted on my page. and, likewise, hiding such a large percentage of my reviews mitigates and undermines my business and the people who care to support it.

it is frustrating beyond belief because yelp literally has no one to call or contact about the issue…and when i dug and dug and dug to find someone, all they could say was that it is filtered by a computer algorithm that–for reasons they could not (and didn’t even try to) justify to me in any way–decided the posts were inappropriate or unacceptable to their terms.

and, by the way, they did the same to my mini yogis yoga for kids page, where 22 of 30 are hidden as “not currently recommended” (73%).

too bad yelp doesn’t have it’s own yelp page, so i could post my objections there for the world to see. but, then again, it probably wouldn’t be recommended.

and that is my rant. if you know anyone at yelp who isn’t a robot, i’d love to talk with them.

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