Black hatting Yelp: How to wreck a company profile photo

 

A few days ago I went to our Chicago Yelp page to find that someone had gamed Yelp and managed to update our company profile picture to a close-up of a young woman that has absolutely nothing to do with our business (we fix broken iPhones and iPads). It doesn’t even show her holding a phone. It looks like a Match.com profile picture.

Really, Yelp? You think this is the best photo to represent JCD Repair?
Really, Yelp? You think this is the best photo to represent JCD Repair?

How did this happen? I’m not 100% sure but here’s what I think they did:

  1. Created a fake account.
  2. Reached out to a few people so they had a few Yelp “friends”.
  3. Wrote a 3-star review of our business.
  4. Uploaded a picture to our site and checked the option to “Mark as Storefront Photo” and/or clicked the “Very Helpful” option for the photo.
  5. Within a day or two Yelp selected this photo to represent our business.

I’ve flagged the photo and emailed Yelp customer support, but other than that, there’s nothing I can do until someone at Yelp gets around to taking care of it – which I hope they do.

“Why don’t I just log into my Yelp for business owners account and change the photo?”

Great question. I’d love to do that! But I can’t. Yelp doesn’t allow a business owner to select their own profile photo.

For the time being we’re stuck with this completely irrelevant photo to represent our business. At least it’s an attractive woman – so I guess it could have been worse.

If anyone out there has any suggestions on how to fix this, I’d love your comments. Please help.

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JCD Repair

My name is Matt McCormick and I am the founder and co-owner of JCD Repair. Prior to starting this company, I was a freelance web developer, a software developer at Microsoft, lectured on operating systems at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and spent three years selling robotics equipment. I have a Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering and a Master's in Computer Science.

2 thoughts on “Black hatting Yelp: How to wreck a company profile photo”

  1. Update on this: In just a couple of days we were able to get the picture updated. Not sure if it was Yelp responding to our request (and if it was, thanks Yelp) or if it was my effort to simply log into my personal Yelp account and click “Very Helpful” on the picture that I wanted to display.

    Either way, this seems to be fixed now. If anyone else encounters this problem, just try these steps:

    1) Flag the image.
    2) Flag the review if you really believe it’s fake.
    3) Log into your personal Yelp account (not your business one).
    4) Go to your Yelp page’s photos and click “Very Helpful” on your preferred photo.

  2. I’ve been having the exact same problem with my Yelp business page. My wedding photography business currently features a headshot of a middle-aged man. It is relevant, but not an accurate representation of my business as a whole! Thanks so much for posting your experience. I’ll have my friends help mark a different photo as “Very helpful.” :)

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