I don’t use Yelp much. For the most part, I leave positive reviews for establishments that deserve it. I’ve left a handful of negative reviews when the situation was truly awful and a place rightfully deserved to be avoided. I understand the hardships of owning a small business and try to focus on the positive.
Moe’s Southwest Grill opened up in Downtown Summerlin near my house about one year ago.
I liked Moe’s when I lived in Atlanta. The one in Downtown Summerlin is not good. I left a comment about it on Yelp and received a private message from the franchisee and we got to talking about it. I deleted my Yelp post because I felt that it was great that a store owner was involved and the issue would be corrected.
I went back to contact this person today on Yelp. I just happened to click on his list of Yelp reviews.
Shill Yelp Reviews
He left a glowing review of his Moe’s. It was his third attempt. Yelp deleted the previous two for violating the site’s T&Cs.
A “Joe K.” Moe’s review was also in the deleted review section for violating Yelp’s T&Cs. Joe K. has a one-star review of Zaba’s, a similar restaurant to Moe’s in Downtown Summerlin. Those are the only two Yelp reviews from this Joe K.
The “not recommended” section of this Moe’s Yelp page is full of five-star reviews from one-and-done posters. There are almost as many filtered reviews (32) for the Downtown Summerlin Moe’s location than ones Yelp found to be legitimate (38).
Compare this to Zaba’s, a nearly identical restaurant in the same mall. There are 26 legitimate Yelp reviews. The only review in the filtered section is the one from Joe K. mentioned earlier.
Downtown Summerlin Moe’s Yelp account leaving negative reviews about competitors
The Moe’s franchisee’s Yelp account also had three other reviews. One was about Moe’s neighbor Pieology. There was another about Shake Shack. The other was about a new Mexican restaurant called Pancho’s. All three are in the same mall parking lot as this Moe’s. The reviews for all three are negative.
The Pancho’s review specifically plugs Moe’s. The Pieology review mentions wanting a burrito instead of pizza.
The pattern shows a blatant abuse of the Yelp system to me. I felt that it needed to be called out.
I let the three businesses that received negative reviews know about the situation. I also contacted Moe’s headquarters and Downtown Summerlin. Moe’s responded quickly that this was not acceptable.
This is a sleazy way to do business. I will not be giving that location or any other in Las Vegas any of my money in the future. This Moe’s is almost always empty. It wouldn’t surprise me to see it become the first casualty in Downtown Summerlin.
Trashing competitors on Yelp from a shill account is not a legitimate way of promoting your business. Businesses that choose this route deserve to fail.