Today I went to visit and was presented a message which read “Sorry, you’re not allowed to access this page. Contact Yelp if you keep experiencing issues.”

At first, I thought it was the business profile I was looking at, then, I realized simply visiting also presented this screen. Wondering if Yelp was down, I visited from my phone and was given the same notification. Then I switched my WiFi off and visited the site on my LTE connection and it worked fine! A few tests later confirmed that Yelp banned my IP address!

Why Did Yelp Ban my IP Address?

I take pictures, check in, leave reviews and have a “Yelp Elite” badge on my profile. Was it me?

I do not think Yelp banned “me”. I believe their system thought I was misbehaving and blocked me. I tend to visit a lot of different Yelp pages all over the United States. I write about Yelp Algorithm Changes, and to do so I need to examine many company’s reviews.

Yelp’s computers very likely thought that I was scraping reviews.

You see, on the Internet, there are bots. Bots are basically programs which can scrape the web. Review scraping bots go to review sites, such as Yelp, and scrape the content to go post on their website.

Getting Unbanned.

When you contact Yelp, you provide them with your IP address and ask to be unbanned. I personally asked to be unbanned July 28, 2019. It’s been a couple of days and I have heard nothing.

I will update this article if/when my IP address gets unbanned.

An alternative would be to change your IP address. How this is done depends on your Internet Service Provider (ISP). In some cases you may be able to simply power off your modem and power it back on. In other cases you may need to change your MAC address, or contact your ISP and ask for a new IP. Or, you could simply stop visiting Yelp on desktop.

  1. A guy I know once asked me to figure out why Yelp blocked him. I know he was submitting fake reviews to Yelp for his own business because I once saw him do it. So I connected my laptop to his router and sent Yelp a cock-and-bull story about renting a room in a house with Internet as part of the amenities. For a few days now, I wrote, I am getting this “Sorry, your not allowed to access this page” message. I never heard back from them. So yes, they are banning IP addresses based upon unknown criteria.

    At the time, I told my friend to subscribe to one of those proxy services. He did so, and was able to get back into Yelp. This was just after the time he also bought a new computer.

    I used to buy electronic equipment and sometimes software to run that equipment for the firm I worked for. A lot of it was bleeding edge technology. We would invariably ask very complicated questions the salesmen could not answer. We went round and round, trying to arrange a meeting at their factory with their technical people. There, we wanted to see if they knew how to design equipment, or if they were just hot air.

    I wrote a few reviews for Yelp about 5 years ago. These were straight up, legit. No one asked me to write them. One day, all of them were “currently not recommended”. Since them, I am always on the lookout for technical articles on how Yelp works, and who their people are. I never came across any. It seems whenever the media does a story on complaints about Yelp, the repeat the company’s line on using software to screen reviews. But, whose software? Is it any good? What is the theory behind it? What is the root cause of seemingly illogical actions?

    There are lots of articles on the web and in conventional media detailing some of the illogical actions of Yelp. Could it be nothing more complicated than the fact that the people they have working for them are technically incompetent people with great soft skills (to get their jobs in the first place)?

    I understand the businesses can now pay to have their photographs placed ahead of those submitted by reviewers to Yelp. I have noticed that Pizza Hut places a dozen or so photographs on the pages of their stores every few months. This means all the photographs of dropped delivered or overbaked pizzas submitted by reviewers of Pizza Hut on Yelp get relegated to the back where only the obsessed will click through to find them. Is this fair?

    There needs to be a modern day equivalent of the job that Edward R. Murrow and CBS News did on Senator Joseph McCarthy.

    • I received the same result as you when clicking on the Yelp link today. The “Sorry, you’re not allowed to access this page” web page appeared. I turned off my VPN and the link went through to the Yelp page I wanted.

      I personally, don’t trust Yelp. I believe they manipulate results and extort businesses in underhanded ways. It may be the result of dishonest individual yelp sales reps, or it may be a company-wide policy. For a few years I submitted legitimate, thorough reviews to Yelp, until they all started disappearing into the “currently not recommended” category (just like Seymour’s reviews did). After that, I decided not to waste my time, and now occasionally leave a google review instead.

      I wish there were other, quality, competing sources for genuine reviews. Unfortunately, most of the review sources, from Amazon to Yelp have been gamed.

      • Indeed they must be shady since I use a VPN service. How closely do they really track ones online presence? One must wonder. I am done with yelp.

  2. I went to log in and discovered this same message! And I hadn’t even left a review in more than a year. I simply messaged people who wrote reviews about a business asking them more about their experiences and next day I was banned. I wrote nothing offensive at all. Simply asking about their experience with the business. I emailed Yelp about this but have not received a response back. They do clearly manipulate results by moving reviews to a practically hidden link.

  3. I am a web developer & I started embedding Yelp reviews (via their embed script) into the site I’m building. This working fine for a while, but then all of a sudden I got that message too. I only embedded 6 reviews on my page, but probably after a few page refreshes, whilst building, the Yelp ban kicked in. So their ‘AI’ is way off for detecting malicious activity.

  4. Using a VPN causes this. Yelp thinks people will post frivilus post which people will do anyway and why Yelp should keep its @ss out of the shaming businesses for what they ‘think’ is racist. That is completely subjective and filled with FAKE news.

  5. Yelp Sucks! Never use this manipulative, deceptive site. They shake down businesses to get good reviews. Let’s see Yelp ban this!!

  6. My nephew worked for yelp a very short time because of their shake down methods. So it is true and they are criminals.

  7. I canceled my yelp advertising for my business and now I cannot access yelp and get the same message. Retaliation?

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