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In our Thursday quote of the day, we noted Backstreets Pub & Grill’s displeasure with South Carolina’s new law that allows concealed carry in bars, and their opinion of anyone who would avail themselves of that right. Since the watering hole and greasy spoon doesn’t appear to have its own web site, we linked to their Yelp page when we referred to them. Some of you, though, apparently took it upon yourselves to let the Backstreets boys know what you think about their stance that concealed carriers are “douchebags.” Now, in response to his particular contribution, reader Tim T. got this rebuke from Yelp central command . . .

From: Yelp HQ ‪<[email protected]>‬
Date: Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 4:22 PM
Subject: Message from Yelp HQ [ 2276292 ]
To: [email protected]

MAR 21, 2014  |  04:22PM PDT

Hi there,

We’re contacting you about your review of Backstreets Pub & Grill. Though we understand this business has recently received media attention and that users may have strong opinions, Yelp reviews should be focused on everyday customer experiences with a business; we think this is an important requirement for keeping Yelp a useful site for consumer reviews. While you are welcome to post your comments on Yelp Talk, please note that at this time we will be removing any repostings from you to this business listing.

For more information about our Content Guidelines, please visit:


Yelp User Support
San Francisco, California

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  1. “Yelp reviews should be focused on everyday customer experiences with a business”

    And said business calling potential diners “douchebag” isn’t a customer experience?

      • Yup. That’s the way to really counter the claim that gun owners are “Douchebags.”

        Way to win over the other side by bagging on some internet company’s CS employee who has provided zero indication of their stance on firearms, politics or their sexual orientation.

  2. Got the exact same response. How nice of YELP to do that. From what I understand IF you are a yelp business that pays them, you can have negative reviews removed. Sounds like extortion to me, pay them and you can only have good reviews. Might be something to check into. Albeit I guess I would have to agree in part that most of the reviews were based only on the sign, and not actual service, but you have to wonder if they would post a sign like that HOW good could their service and food really be? As much as I do NOT agree with a business posting a no firearms sign of any kind, when you go to the lengths that he did to insult all gun owners (of which he claims to be one) can you only imagine the other prejudices he might have? Does he feel this way about women? Minorities? Tattoos? Had I seen a lawful sign, I would not give him 1 dime of my money, but this sign warranted the national press it received, and maybe it will hurt his pocketbook a little bit and he will use his brain before doing something so childish next time, however something tells me that won’t happen.

    • So what if the reviews weren’t based on actual sevice… are there other Yelp reviews that are allowed to stand based on the environment a business either creates or is subject to? (i.e. I’d love to eat there but it’s right next to a sewage treatment plant – diner beware…)

      If so, then a review based on the environment created by the owner’s attitude should be perfectly legitimate.

    • “From what I understand IF you are a yelp business that pays them, you can have negative reviews removed.”

      Yep. Just like businesses paying the BBB to get a good rating.

  3. Yelp, as a website is joke since valid negative reviews can be deleted there is no way to determine if a place is good or bad. that said, you can say your burger sucked and leave them a 1 star review and I would love to see how they determine if that was true or not.

  4. This is a long standing policy of Yelps. I had a particularly nasty “review” removed because the person had never done business with me and was upset about a Facebook comment I made. If the review in the case had been worded like “I went there to eat on 3/15/14 but saw this sign calling me a douchebag for carrying a gun” then it is an actual experience.

    • So you realize the Yelp system of removing reviews unrelated to the actual service or products offered by an establishment benefited your business… and yet you choose to offer advice on how to game that exact system to the detriment of another business owner. My God, the hypocrisy is just too much.

      The people here who are suggesting lying to destroy a business’s reputation… you all sicken me. So what if this restaurant and its owner are ideologically opposed to us? Do you think acting like a bunch of children will change that? If anything, you’ve proven his point. You are an uncompromising bunch of fools that would lie and attack his business on false grounds out of spite.

      Post on their Facebook, start a boycott, put positive spotlight on establishments that not only accept, but encourage their customers to carry firearms. But lying and saying this place’s food and service are bad… that’s reprehensible.

      • Someone should delete that comment because he’s not agreeing with us!!! lol. Hey moron, pretty sure the point of this entire process was to alert pro gun people to stay the hell away from this place, and guess what? It worked. As far as “lying” I saw a few, but for the most part the reviews were like mine, saying we would not eat in an establishment that had beliefs as this, and the icing on the cake was his language and obvious lack of respect for any gun owner, even though he claims to be one. But each to their own.

        • There are better ways to let people know that an establishment doesn’t cater to our folk than by marking that establishment 1 Star on one of the most popular food and dining websites on the web and lying about the “experience” you had with the establishment. I did look at the Yelp review page and you know what I saw? People from cities around the continental U.S not even remotely close to South Carolina posting about their abysmal experience with the anti-gun bar and grill. A flood of these. How likely is it that these supposed customers decided to make a road trip to this establishment, take a look at the sign and then post their review? No, I’m betting a good number of them had never even set foot in Clemson, SC and decided to attack the establishment online not unlike the 4chan goons do. That’s immature no matter how you look at it and ill represents what we are as a community.

        • Good thing I could care less what you think. I did not post that I had been in the restaurant and had miserable service, I posted that I would never give money to a business that posts any no firearm sign, let alone one that calls gun owners douches. Move on troll, you are not helping yourself with trying to make others feel bad.

        • Well good on you for being honest. My intention was not to make you personally feel bad. In fact, I never attacked you personally. Not even once. If you feel bad then that’s the work of our good friend cognitive dissonance, not me. My objective was to reason that the people who have made it clear on the comments of this page that they’d misrepresented themselves as customers and committed libel (see above and below) are in the wrong. Full stop.

          I am arguing a point you disagree with. If you think that’s what a troll does then you are mistaken.

      • Lighten up Francis.

        There are consequences for all of our actions. Including his actions. He isn’t using the system to his advantage? Of course he is.

        • Oh, so because there are corrective measures in place that censor out reviews from people who’ve likely never even set foot on the same block as that restaurant, we’re all allowed to game the system to bring the business’s Yelp score down?

          That’s some flawed logic. Yes, he’s using the system to his benefit rectify what we as a community have done. That’s what the system’s there for. Say what you will about the accuracy of Yelp’s aggregate ratings and their history of extorting business owners for higher ratings. People *rely* on Yelp to make their dining decisions, for better or worse. The mature thing to do would be to not leave any review at all. Don’t frequent the place and tell all your friends not to frequent the place. Just not this.

    • Well, we have been saying for a long time that if you really feel that way about Gun Free Zones you need to be willing to put a big sign in your front yard saying there are no guns in this home/establishment.

      This idjit finally took the bait, let’s see what bites.

  5. So he wants to call everyone douchbags but doesnt want anyone to respond.

    Typical spinelessly opinionated jerk nonsense.

    Could be he’s honestly surprised by the reaction. If that’s the case I can only suggest he get out more and experience the real world as it is.

  6. “Clarence – Yelp User Support – San Francisco, California”

    Gee, “San Francisco, California”. Would anyone like to take a wild guess at the political leanings and attitude towards firearms ownership of the YELP “user support” types?

    And if Clarence is reading this post, I like to refer to it as “Frisco”. Just to annoy residents thereof. (Note I did not use the word “douchebag”.)

    • On behalf of Emperor Norton, I hereby fine you the sum of twenty-five cents ($0.25) for the use of the word “Frisco” in reference to the city of San Francisco. Please remit said amount to the bartender at your nearest watering hole.

        • A round of .22!!! From my cold, dead hands …

          Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute to an Emperor … [or something like that]

    • The irony of people of the gun freaking out about other people being bigoted, hoplophobes, or making unfounded, snap judgments against them… simultaneously doing THE EXACT SAME THING in response never gets old.

      Guys, some of you get on here and come across just as intolerant or ignorant as the anti’s.

      The bay area is a big place. Believe it or not, not every single person there hates everything you believe in.


  7. Yelp sucks people… not just for this but for their business practices.. if Yelp comes to you as a business owner and asks you if you want to advertise with them and you refuse they will remove all of your two to five star ratings and only leave you with the one stars. If you do advertise with them they will get rid of all of your one to three star ratings and leave you with only four and five stars. They may be within the law but they are immoral when it comes to business. Don’t use yelp for anything! Use Urbanspoon or anything else. is a parasite on the web.

  8. That’s funny. Aren’t douchebags generally manipulating, emotionally fragile POS’s that put on stellar social facades? It seems like they operate a business the same way.

    Rename it The DBag Diner!

  9. I don’t try to use it with any regularity, but on the few occasions I’ve looked up a place on Yelp, the net result of the reviews I’ve seen have left me with precisely zero more useful information than when I started. The reviews are supposed to be personal, but that means they end up being a bunch of anecdotes that always appear to be highly situational, and thus useless to me. The plural of anecdotes is not data.

    If someone I know recommends or has a bad experience at a place, I weigh their experience and what I know about that person together to decide if their recommendation (or denigration) carries any weight at all. Otherwise, I just do it the old fashioned way and try the place myself.

    • In my experience it is far more likely that a person who takes the time to post a negative review of a business was probably being a douchebag prior to the poor service/response. Businesses (this one is an obvious exception) generally go out of their way NOT to treat their customers or potential customers like shit unless they are pushed to it.

  10. Regards,

    Yelp User Support
    San Francisco, California
    I think this says it all about Yelp. Any body doing business only looking for feel-good are themselves douchebags.

  11. yelp is in it make money just like angie’s list. if you leave them a review based on food and wait staff it will be less likely be removed than if u leave them one concerning their stance on 2a. i’ve eaten there and their food was average at best.

    • I have to laugh at the Angie’s List ad where they say that those providing the services reviewed can’t fake positive reviews. How hard is it to hire a few locals who have never, or would never need, their services to register, pay their dues, and post positive reviews for them? Answer: Just as easy as it is to hire a few shills to visit pro-2A websites and blogs and play the roll of a troll. IOW: If I could think of that way around it, there’s nothing stopping others from thinking the same thing and implementing it.

      As a side note, the BBB isn’t necessarily a good place for a quality of business check anymore either.

  12. Only post reviews if you’ve been to the place. Those who posted negative comments about the restaurant are exactly the people the pub’s idiot owner was targeting.

    If you do not like his business practices, then don’t be his customer. Spend your money elsewhere….I’m sure a nearby drinking establishment would love to take customers away from him.

    • Um… no?

      The people posting about the sign are letting other like-minded gun owners know what this guy thinks of them even after he takes his little sign down so he can get more money.

  13. The same thing happened to me with my negative review of Hobby Lobby because they demanded the right to intervene in the healthcare of their employees. This is a general policy – reviews must be based on actual experiences and not policies.

    If anyone actually ate there then posted a review, I’d suggest appealing.

    • Nice spin, Hobby Lobby owners dont want to be FORCED to provide Obamacare mandated birth control for their employees, because they oppose birth control on religious grounds. Obamacare SUCKS and only the mentally ill Obama bot cultists are willing to try to defend any aspect of it.

      • My only problem with Hobby Lobby’s stance on Obamacare is they are asserting religious grounds.

        How about “Hey federal government it’s none of your damned business what insurance I choose to provide for my employees!” It doesn’t matter what religion you are, it’s wrong for the government to interfere in personal lives like this. Making it a “religion” carve-out is just as wrong as creating an anti-gun-control carve-out for “off duty police.”

        • I seem to recall that religious freedom , unlike some other things, is actually specifically stated in the Bill of Rights–in the First Amendment, immediately preceding the 2nd… Not that you aren’t also correct in saying an employer’s choice of healthcare plans is not of the gov’t’s damned business.

        • What does your religious freedom have to do with MY health insurance policy? If you are a Christian Scientist, does than mean that you are allowed to provide your employees with only “prayer coverage” in the event of illness, and not medical care? Since when does the boss have anything at all to say about what medical care the employees elect to receive? All he is doing is providing some or all of the payment of the premium for an insurance policy.

    • uhhh, “demanded the right to interfere with the healthcare of their employees”?? You mean, the healthcare that THEY would be PAYING for? I seem to recall an old saying about pipers and calling tunes…What an idiotic way to try to frame the issue.

  14. Guess the owner didn’t like the result of his actions. In what way did he childish name calling was going to go over well? I’m guessing his pub is about to be renamed “Closed”

    Perhaps in the future he should consider a business model where he doesn’t go way out of his way to treat potential customers like excrement. I’ve found such places rarely last long.

  15. I recently left a comment on Yelp about Backstreets Pub and Grill and the sign they posted. A couple of days later, I received an email from Yelp that they had deleted my comment, and it was because I supported our Second Amendment Rights. So I guess my deleting my comment Yelp has now said that they also support us losing our First Amendment Rights. I told Yelp to delete my profile that I had to created in order to leave that comment, if they wanted to infringe on my First Amendment right because I spoke up fr my Second Amendment Right, that I did not want to have my name attached in any way to their site.

    • While your enthusiasm is great and all, you’re missing two very important points. First, Yelp is supposed to be about the reviews of people who have actually patronized the establishment, not random people like you. (I don’t particularly care about this point, because I don’t use Yelp, for reasons I’ve explained elsewhere.) The second and more important point is that Yelp is not infringing on your First Amendment rights. The First Amendment protects you from government suppression of your right of free speech. Nothing else. Yelp deleting your comments, another website deleting or moderating your comments, or even someone shouting you down as you attempt to plead your case on a public street corner are not infringements on your First Amendment rights. It’s their site, it’s their rules, and you’re mistaken if you think otherwise.

      • Correctamundo!

        Nancy is engaging in the same mistake that many liberals make (no, I am not calling her a liberal, just saying liberals make the same mistake she did), conflating the public (government) and private spheres.

      • Personally I do not think that posting a review about this establishment’s sign should be removed. It goes to their policies that other conceal carry permit holders SHOULD know prior to making a decision to eating there. For instance, someone mentions to me they have great burgers and great beer, so I decide to make arrangements for my family to eat there, and we are going to drive 60 miles to do so, upon getting there seeing a sign NO firearms allowed, we would not be going in. So seeing reviews about the policy would save me and my family time and effort. Thankfully here in Iowa those signs mean nothing as long as they do not see your firearm, not that I would go into a restaurant that had one posted, but our movie theater does, and I ignore it the one time a year we go and pay crazy prices for movies and popcorn 🙂 Other states if the sign is posted it’s more serious, so I would always follow the law in that regards. I get why the owner complained to Yelp, hell I would do the same, however I do think it’s wrong for yelp to remove them, but they have been doing this as others have mentioned for quite some time. Pay them, and they will do what you ask, don’t pay and oh well, you are on your own.

  16. This is standard practice for Yelp and not in any way “anti-gun.” I work in retail and have some experience with Yelp. If someone posts a negative review for a business, and has no history of reviewing other businesses, the review will be flagged and removed from view. This prevents people from flaming a store over one incident. It can also prevent mischief from competitors. The store where I work has received a few random and incoherent negative reviews that were removed through this process.

    If you want to have a strongly negative review of Backstreet Pub hold up on Yelp, you should have a long, active history of posting reviews on Yelp, especially reviews of businesses in Clemson, SC.

    • I expect you are right. I actually think it is bad form to go there and leave a fake bad review of the facially kosher food-and-service type if you haven’t actually eaten there . And I respect Yelp’s desire to confine reviews to that sort of thing. That said, I’ll bet the 5-star reviews being left by NY resident goo-goos based on their shared distaste gun-carriers are not being deleted.

  17. It seems to me Google+ reviews are less likely to be deleted. Correct me if I’m wrong but several local gun shops have extremely poor reviews that NEVER get taken down. Some DESERVED & others not. I’ve always thought Yelp is garbage. YMMV

  18. I would have thought his posting would have been a bad business decision in good ole boy Clemson, SC…on the other hand whether he intended to or not, he got one heck of a lot of free publicity. A similar establishment in a similar but much bigger college town just one state north, posted a similar sign and made sure he got local press and an interview out of it. Similar backlash but it didnt go viral. Hasnt hurt his business one bit unfortunately.

    • I live in Clemson and Backstreets patrons are 99.9% college kids. They don’t read the news, the signs, and certainly not concerned with SC carry laws. In other words, they don’t give a rats butt about it. Their biggest concern is the price of tap. Been there and done that….they will have to grow up one day, it’s just not today.

      PS. Clemson is extremely liberal with very little good ole boy due to the university. You have to go a few miles out of town for good ole boy, LOL.

  19. After using Yelp over a couple years to review/state my experiences with businesses here in San Jose, Yelp decide that I did not have enough “credence” to post a review and promptly removed *all* my posts.
    None were derogatory, or rude; I just stated my experiences.
    I stopped using Yelp as a reviewer and reader.

  20. Got the same Bullshit email. Figured that y’all would post about it eventually and since most web based outlets are staffed by liberals anyway, I kinda saw this coming.

  21. While you are welcome to post your comments on Yelp Talk, please note that you really aren’t.

    There. Fixed it for them.

  22. They pulled my review within minutes of posting it. I gave them 5 stars with the review of ” great place to stop if you need some quick cash. Easy target, safe place to rob. I would not recommend eating there though because the owner is an asshole that has no clue as how to run a business”

  23. I don’t use yelp but correct me of I’m wrong… can people who post reviews on companies that don’t subscribe to yelp? This would seem bad for these businesses given some of the inflammatory and derogatory nature of potential negative comments and obviously causing these non participating businesses to lose money. With that said and if that’s the case, would it also be considered immoral and potentially illegal for yelp to indirectly leverage these buisnesses into using their site? I would imagine the majority of consumers who use yelp do not know a thing about their business practices thus leading them to believe what ever they read on that site as mostly accurate… slander? Or disparagement? Im not well versed in the law but if that’s the case I wouldn’t believe anything I read on yelp…

  24. Review them on google. Much more difficult to moderate and all you babe to do is click 1 star if you don’t feel like explaining.

  25. Half of the reviews start(ed) “I’ve never been there, but…”

    And you’re surprised they were taken down?

    • Who said they were surprised? Since I’m really really good at getting my comments moderated, I’m surprised at how long it took to take it down

  26. FYI, Yelp sells better placement for payers seeking advertising, and is not organic and “community based,” as they like to pretend.

    I believe they’re being sued over this fact.


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