Alot has happened since my last post on How I Became an IMC at HubSpot. Most notably, the controversy started over a website I built on the HubSpot CMS called YelpBadges. The following is the story of how I built a website, was sent a Cease and Desist Letter, and retired the website — all within 7 days. I will be on HubSpotTV tomorrow to discuss LIVE at 4PM EST. Be sure to tune in!!
As some of my readers know, I recently moved from Atlanta to Boston to work at a really awesome Internet Marketing Company. I am completely unfamiliar with Boston and do not know where the best business establishments (restaurants, music venues, laundromats, ect.) are and even how to get there. I downloaded the Yelp! iPhone App and my new life in Boston was instantly changed for the better. I could open the app, search restaurants around me, read hundreds of reviews of those restaurants and then click on Directions to instantly find out how to get to my newly found place of dinning for the evening. I quickly became addicted and attached to Yelp! and used it frequently to decide where to spend my hard earned dollars in my new home town. I started to notice how I could check-in to various venues, give quick tips on those places, take pictures, write full reviews and earn really cool badges for using the Yelp! service.
Fastforward several days to my first week at HubSpot. I was required to create a new website during training and used the opportunity to develop www.yelpbadges.com. I am a big fan of their service, but found it nearly impossible to find out how to unlock the various badges anywhere on the internet. YelpBadges.com was born to fill the void of non-existent information on how to obtain the newly released yelp badges.
I developed the website to be similar to the very useful and popular website 4squarebadges.com. Yelp! does not have information on their website on how to unlock the badges, and the only information available on the internet are available through forums scattered across the internet.
Within 7 days of my new project going live, I received an email from a Yelp Representative. This representative demanded that I stop publishing and remove all content from www.yelpbadges.com immediately. I was a bit shocked at this development. My website was meant to promote the Yelp! brand by providing a useful portal on how to use their service more often. I even had a blog with several articles on how Yelp! is doing it right in regards to small business location-based marketing!
So I wrote the representative from Yelp! an email asking if it would be ok to proceed with the website if I removed the logo and provided a clear statement of non-affiliation with Yelp. His response was basically no followed by a request for me to put the information on HubSpot.com if I wanted to move forward with the site. I am obviously not going to put this information on HubSpot. Why would I give more exposure AND tremendous SEO credit to a brand that just shut me down for putting together a very informative and praiseworthy site for their brand?!?
I have no interest in fighting Yelp! and am really just too disappointed in their approach to my website to continue writing about how users can unlock Yelp Badges and businesses can succeed by using Yelp! for location-based marketing. YelpBadges.com is now taken down to rest in a place reserved for those awesome websites that cannot exist because of a brand trying too hard to control their fans.
So if you are curious about how to unlock the Sushi Sensei Badge, or the Big Night Badge or even the Nighthawk Badge… good luck!! You aren’t going to find any information on YelpBadges.com
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