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a shady business model using a variety of nefarious techniques to force your business to participate in their website directory or "platform"


An questionable if not downright dystopian internet business model based on the concept of a black hole, which tries to suck you into it's "platform" with dirty tricks.

These businesses use web crawlers to scrape the Internet and pre-populate a database with incorrect information about your business, so that you are forced to "claim" your "page" at their "index" website to fix your contact information in case anybody finds it there (which does sometimes happen).

Yelpholes tend to target small, local businesses, like restaurants and repair shops. They tend to avoid big businesses because the foutune 500 have attorneys in-house and regional businesses have attorneys on speed-dial.

Grub Hub uses a variation of this strategy as an engine for growth for their "gig economy" business.This business model constitutes an attack on your control over your web presence and could be considered a form of blackmail.

Weirdly a Google thing called "Google Sites" is based on the Yelphole model. Google Sites could be considered a counter-attack on this business model, because they aim to get the data right, and Google Sites will rank higher in search results than the spam Yelphole sites, thus squeezing off their advertising revenue money supply.

Unfortunately a proper SEO strategy requires making an assessment of this situation and possibly correcting misinfomration by "claiming" these fake pages.

This should only be done when absolutely necessary, though. Starving them of attention is the best cure.
Never pay the ransom.

Claim the page only if absolutely necessary, and never if you must pay any fee, at all, to do so. The best way to deal with these lowlifes is to bury them with higher-ranking search results, so that your customers don't stumble into their web by accident.

Perhaps a community effort to identify Yelpholes and add them to various DNS Blackhole Lists might help.There exist many Yelpholes, each a wretched cesspool of scum and villainy.

The Yelphole is an example of a Catch 22.

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