No dogs, Yelpers allowed

The people-powered reviews site gets one of its first public protests--a "No Yelpers" sign--from a local business owner.

Since I wrote this article on Yelp, the people-powered reviews site, I found out that a owner of a San Francisco Bay Area cafe mentioned in the piece has posted signs in his two coffee houses that read "No Yelpers!!"

Why? Apparently the cafe owner wants to discourage any (more) customers from writing bad reviews of his businesses on the site. I'm pretty sure that's not the way to do it.

But more importantly, it seems like that first homemade sign in a coffee shop means Yelp has come up in the world, if only a wee bit. It's joining an esteemed list of cafe no-nos: no cell phones, no skateboards, no bare feet, no Yelpers.

Unlike refusing to serve a barefooted hippie talking on a cell phone with a skateboard under foot, policing Yelp reviews is next to impossible and like trying to stuff a genie back into the bottle. Many small-business owners angry about snarky customer reviews have learned that lesson. Sniffing out a Yelper or any other reviewer in an anonymous sea of armchair critics online is no easy task. The best advice is to adapt.