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Yelp Shakes its Iron Fist at Real Estate Reviews

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Our vigilantes over at brother Eater SF do a fine job of keeping errant Yelpsters on their toesYelp.com is notorious for commissioning glowing resto reviews while editing and even deleting those that don't suit its sponsors' fancies. According to this morning's tipster, however, Yelp disappears negative real estate reviews, too, including our reader's take down of Clay Park Towers owner Citisuites:

From: Mr. Smith [REDACTED]
Date: Tue, May 20, 2008 at 8:03 AM
Subject: Fwd: Message from Yelp.com HQ Yelp deleted my review of the building I live in because my review "lacks firsthand experience". My review claimed that there were numerous complaints and lawsuits pending against the building owner (Citisuites). When I got this email, I provided documentation (news articles documenting lawsuits and complaints) to Yelp regarding my review and asked that it be reinstated. Never got a response... I Yelp anonymously because I interact with Yelp on a professional level.


From: Kris at Yelp HQ
Date: Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 5:30 PM
Subject: Message from Yelp.com HQ [ ref:00D3vCN.50044bg61:ref ]
To: [REDACTED]

Hi there,

I'm writing to let you know about our decision to remove your review of Clay Park Towers. Your review was flagged by the Yelp community, and our Customer Service team has determined that it lacks firsthand experience and falls outside our review guidelines: http://www.yelp.com/faq#great_review.

We review every situation with detail and care and take the removal of reviews very seriously.

Regards,
Kris
Yelp User Support
San Francisco, California


Part of the redacted review:

"Owned by notorious real estate company, citiSuites, who has numerous complaints and lawsuits pending against it. i cannot recommend living in a building owned or managed by this company ..."