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Apartment People CEO slams Yelp, slimes self

Yelp screen cap

Ilene Collins, CEO of Apartment People, replied to a hyper-positive Yelp review by suggesting that the review might be taken down from the site “since we are not advertisers.” As I read the review, the first from a new Yelper, I found myself unable to believe that it reflected an actual consumer experience with Apartment ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 3, 2014

Some amusing Yelp reviews for Vesta Preferred’s Joe Rush

Yelp screen cap

A new agent starts at a Chicago rental service and, within a matter of days, is receiving five-star reviews at Yelp from people writing their first-ever review, and writing in a way that doesn’t seem to reflect an actual apartment renting experience. That’s a pattern you’ll see repeated time after time in Yelp reviews for ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 1, 2014

Vesta Preferred, where raw rental rookies rate rave reviews

Yelp screen cap

Vesta Preferred bills itself in Craigslist recruiting ads as the “Highest rated Real Estate Company on Yelp.” That statement simply isn’t true, as you can easily determine from a brief scan of the Chicago rental services reviewed on Yelp. Early last year we wondered whether the company’s reviews reflected actual consumer experiences or resulted from ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 24, 2014

Is Flats Chicago practicing review fraud?

Thumbnail image for Is Flats Chicago practicing review fraud?

YoChicago has zero tolerance for the comment fraud and review fraud that some inept landlords and rental services seem to find attractive. Our Privacy policy provides that you expressly waive its protections if you engage in deceit on behalf of a business in our comments. On April 14 a commenter with the screen name of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 21, 2014

Is Chicagoland Property Group Craigslist’s worst apartment spammer?

Chicagoan screen cap

Craigslist doesn’t allow ads to be posted more than once every 48 hours and prohibits keyword spam, i.e. the use of irrelevant terms in ads to draw attention to them. Over-posted ads stuffed with irrelevant keywords are spam. We haven’t completed our research, so we don’t know whether Chicagoland Property Group is Craigslist’s most prolific ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 31, 2014

Do Live Here Chicago’s fraudulent Yelp reviews doom its employees?

Andrew Michael Snyder

A little over a year ago we questioned whether Urban Lux, a rental service on our do-not-call list, was responsible for the dumbest-ever reviews at Yelp. Several days ago a commenter responded with the following: … you should see the recent reviews for Live Here Chicago. All posted by employees of Live Here Chicago. Andy ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 24, 2014
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Does a Yelper live in Lincoln Park and at EnV?

Yelp screen cap

A year ago in April we wondered whether, based on its uniformly negative Yelp reviews, EnV was Chicago’s worst new apartment tower. We also expressed skepticism about the single, extremely positive review of the building at ApartmentRatings. There have been no new reviews of EnV at ApartmentRatings, but EnV has since been both praised and ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 22, 2013
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

What’s up with these Yelp reviews of The Tides?

Yelp screen cap

The reviews of The Tides apartment complex pictured above, posted four months apart, are almost word-for-word identical. Did the first reviewer’s experience so perfectly mirror the second’s that he simply copied her work, changing only the unit location and deleting a sentence, or are both merely fraudulent? If the latter, can a major developer actually ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 15, 2013

Where rental rookies rate rave reviews

State Farm screen cap

Have you ever wondered about the fact that complete novices at Chicago rental services almost always receive rave reviews on Yelp? I think it’s a fair estimate that the great majority of rental service reviews at Yelp are negative, often savagely so. It’s what you’d expect, given how the apartment finder industry operates in Chicago. ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 11, 2013
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

What happened to Wicker Park?

Joeff Davis image, Wicker Park, Chicago

The Talk section of Yelp occasionally surfaces a fun and informative discussion of Chicago neighborhoods. Several days ago Yelper Chacha M posted the headline question and the following: I just moved back after living abroad for the last ten years and this neighborhood has gone to yuppie / lulu lemon hell. I could barely walk ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 21, 2013

Did an iMove Chicago agent use the C word in a Yelp review?

Yelp screen cap

Jose L recently posted a 5-star Yelp review of iMove Chicago in which he used the C word – twice – to describe a Yelper who had negatively reviewed iMove on July 10 of last year. You can see Jose L’s ugly review in the screen cap, along with his deranged Yelp review of YoChicago. ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 6, 2013

Did iMove Chicago viciously retaliate against a Yelp reviewer?

Craigslist screen cap

We’ve written about iMove Chicago several times, put it on our Craigslist’s Dirtiest Dozen rental services roster, and wondered why any renter or landlord would do business with the company. Yelper Simone T recently had what she considered a bad experience with iMove Chicago, and posted a negative review at Yelp. She supplemented her review ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 4, 2013

Why you should never trust a Yelp review of a rental service

Craigslist screen cap

The above ad appeared on Craigslist yesterday, and it tells you everything you need to know about why you should never believe a Yelp review – positive or negative – of a Chicago rental service. If you’re naïve, you might think you can simply disregard comments by new Yelpers with few reviews and trust reviews ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 31, 2013
ChicagoNorth Side

New Year’s resolution – review Eugenie Terrace on ApartmentRatings

Lincoln Park aerial

It’s 2009, and Lincoln Park’s Eugenie Terrace apartment tower is reviewed only once at ApartmentRatings.com. The pace quickens and two reviews are posted in each of 2010 and 2011. Several of the reviews are strongly negative. It’s 2012, and Eugenie residents – or so they say – flood ApartmentRatings with 23 reviews on January 9th ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 13, 2012
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Is EnV Chicago’s worst new apartment tower?

Aerial view of EnV

I’ve recently updated our Near North at-a-glance apartment list and map with several new links to online availability checks, and added links to Yelp reviews that had been unavailable at the time the list was created. EnV is the only new apartment tower to receive the lowest possible rating from all of its reviewers on ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 9, 2012

Chicago rental services closing offices, rebranding, testing new business models

Kardas Photography, Navy Pier

As Chicago’s rental market strengthens and vacancies decrease, a number of landlords have been cutting back on their use of apartment rental services (also known as locators and finders) and reducing the fees they pay them. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the crowded rental services field is undergoing a transition. A number of smaller companies ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 21, 2012

Is a phony Yelp review a felony?

Yelp video

Last Saturday we called attention to a pattern of suspicious reviews of Reside Living buildings at Yelp. The first positive review of Reside at Belmont Harbor, 426 W Belmont Ave, had been flagged by Yelp’s review filter. The two new reviews we called attention to in our post have also been deemed suspect by Yelp, ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 20, 2012

Saturday night apartment funnies and Yelp’s review filter

Yelp video

The first Yelp review of Reside at Belmont Harbor, 426 W Belmont Ave, dated 12/18/11, was written by a first-time Yelper and flagged as suspicious by Yelp’s review filter: I have lived at Belmont Harbor for about two years now. I’ve gone through at least three different management companies and during those times, I would ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 14, 2012

Yelp reviews that reek – My Town Realty Group edition

You’re all probably highly aware of this phenomenon by now, but a reminder never hurts. When you’re looking at reviews of apartment rental services – we call them bedbugs – at Yelp, be highly skeptical of positive reviews. The majority of them strike me, quite simply, as unbelievable fiction. Take the reviews of a Lincoln ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 7, 2011

While you’re at it, Ginger Summers, cut the crap on Yelp

Last Saturday we suggested that an apartment locator (a/k/a bedbug) by the name of Ginger Summers quit spamming Craigslist with thousands of repetitive ads. We don’t expect to affect Ginger’s behavior – her bots have already posted 100s of ads before noon today, and nearly 1,000 yesterday – but hopefully we can convince you to ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 18, 2011