Yelp unveils major product changes to address extortion allegations. A number of small business have accused Yelp of removing negative reviews for advertisers, but Mashable reports that starting today, readers will be able to click a link to see all reviews submitted, including those filtered out by Yelp's algorithm. Yelp will also no longer allow advertisers to pay for their "favorite reviews" to be featured at the top of the page.
Why listening to your customers is a terrible idea. If you had to take a guess at some big-name entrepreneurs who would proffer that advice, Mark Cuban would probably be at the top of the list. Sure enough, the entrepreneur and billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks offers up a cautionary tale today of what happens when a start-up loses focus by following through on too much advice from customers. "Your customers can tell you the things that are broken and how they want to be made happen. Listen to them. Make them happy," Cuban writes. "But they won't create the future roadmap for your product or service. That's your job."
Betting on the iPad. TechCrunch carries a guest post co-written by Kleiner Perkins partner John Doerr on what the iPad means for entrepreneurs. Not surprisingly, given that Doerr bet big on iPhone apps back in 2008 with a $100 million venture capital fund dedicated exclusively to app investing--the iFund--Doerr remains extremely bullish, arguing that the iPad represents the beginning of another explosion in entrepreneurial activity. "I've touched it, held it, and caressed it. It feels gorgeous. It feels like touching the future," he writes. "Twice in the last 15 years we've witnessed 100,000 flowers blooming...Here comes the third shift: interacting fluidly on full and fast screens with vast information stored locally. And that will start a third renaissance of software."
Even more reasons to be jealous of Foursquare's Dennis Crowley. What's life like for the CEO and co-founder of one of the country's hottest young start-ups? Pretty darn good, apparently. Over the past several days, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley has been on a coast-to-coast meet-and-greet with VC's from Silicon Valley and Boston who are eager to put some money into his company. Of course, being a young tech entrepreneur, Crowley posted just about everything he did online to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Business Insider has a collection of Crowley's posts and if you weren't jealous of him before, you will be now. Among the highlights of Crowley's trip include test driving a new Tesla roadster, tickets to the Red Sox opening night and his name on the Fenway Park scoreboard, dinners at Silicon Valley's top restaurants, late-night parties, courtside seats for an NBA game, and meet-ups with entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey. You might not be able to live like him, but your business can make money off of Foursquare. Here's how.
Things to consider before appealing employee unemployment claims. At least 35 states increased their tax rates and wages subject to unemployment taxes this year in response to increasing jobless claims. With taxes on pink slips increasing, business owners may be tempted to appeal claims for unemployment benefits. But watch out, cautions The Wall Street Journal-- appeals can sometimes backfire. Workers who exit voluntarily or are justifiably fired sometimes seek them out anyway (employers aren't required to confirm claims, so they're usually granted as long as the firm is eligible). But that doesn't stop state agents from siding with the former employees. Appealing a claim can also prompt a former employee to file a lawsuit for discrimination or harassment in retaliation. Business owners can also end up owing back taxes if the subject of the claim was misclassified as an independent contractor when they should have been a regular employee. Of the 405,153 appeals filed in 2009 to deny unemployment benefits to former workers, only 36 percent succeeded. Documentation in the case of a firing for just cause helps, The Journal says, especially e-mail trails and dated files that record a pattern of bad behavior.
JASON DEL REY was a senior reporter covering technology, branding, and company culture for Inc. magazine. Before joining Inc., his work appeared in Newsday, The (Newark) Star-Ledger, and the Staten Island Advance, and on ESPN.com. He lives in New Jersey. @DelRey