Comment Policy

All comments to posts have to await approval. Please be aware that, depending on when I'm logged onto the internet, it may take me hours, even longer, to moderate comments, so if they don't turn up in a speedy fashion, they are still in the queue. Comments that cross a line I'm not comfortable with will not get approved.

NOTE: Comments reflect the opinions of the person writing them and should not be assumed to reflect the opinion of the blog. Because of the anonymous nature of the commentary, specific agendas can be pushed by a sole individual and may not reflect a more popular belief by the residents of this community.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Onslaught of 4 and 5 Star Yelp Ratings Continue



Check out the recent reviews on Yelp. You will find that even people who have complaints are giving 4 stars! Gotta get those Community Rewards prizes!

http://www.yelp.com/biz/peter-cooper-village-stuyvesant-town-new-york

Here's what Yelp says about a company asking for reviews (click on graphic to make bigger):


Yelp on attempts to mislead the consumer:

http://officialblog.yelp.com/2014/05/attempts-to-mislead-consumers-not-on-our-watch.html

Note: "For example, some businesses try to bias reviews in their favor by incentivizing people to write positive reviews."

What to do if you think a review has been solicited:

http://www.yelp-support.com/article/Can-I-report-a-review-if-I-think-someone-paid-to-have-it-posted?l=en_US

More on flagging a review you think has been solicited:

http://www.yelp-support.com/article/How-do-I-flag-a-review?l=en_US

Friday, May 22, 2015

CW Capital/CompassRock Hires Company That Illegally Disposed of Toxic Equipment To Handle Asbestos Removal in Stuy Town

This appeared on the TA's Facebook page from a member:


The asbestos removal company in charge: PAL Environmental Safety Corp, which found itself in the news about eight years ago:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/daily-news-probe-finds-wtc-contractors-mob-ties-fraud-article-1.244416

 There will be outside monitoring by Hillman Consulting.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Busted? CWCapital Using "Community Rewards" to Get Residents (and Others) To Spread the Message on Social Media, including Yelp



And CW/CompassRock is being very open about it. On May 15, they promoted on their StuyTown Facebook the "Community Rewards game," which offers prizes for generating points. Spreading the word on social media generates points....


"Community Rewards" is set up by a Texas company called Modern Message. Here are some of the perks Modern Message offers companies that set up an account with them (click on graphic to make larger):


As you see, Yelp is listed.

Also note when CW/CompassRock posted their Facebook message about Community Rewards: May 15. On May 16, a wave of positive reviews started being posted on Yelp.

Hmm... "Negative reviews slowing you down?"....


I wonder how Yelp will feel about their reviews being part of a "rewards" program that offers prizes as an incentive?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Yelp Shenanigans: Is Management, or the Brokers Who Work for It, Paying for Good Reviews?



I know a few things about Yelp, and so I smell a rat. Big time.

For those who don't know, Yelp is a place where members can review restaurants, bookstores, services--and apartment complexes like Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. The Yelp page for ST/PCV has traditionally shown an overwhelming amount of negative reviews, so much so that it must be an embarrassment for CWCapital and CompassRock. As many people check Yelp, these negative reviews are sure to dampen the interest of prospective renters.

A few months ago, banners around Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper invited residents to go on Yelp, in the hope that the page would get positive reviews. Well, that didn't happen.

So now a different tactic is being used. If you check recent reviews, you will see that a number of them are four or five star reviews, something that's never happened in a brief span of time--like two days (May 16-May 17)! Also check where some of these reviews are coming from: Astoria, Brooklyn!!!

Given my knowledge of the Yelp world, I can figure out what is probably happening.

While it may be that individuals related to management or management itself is posting these, I suspect the use of a special service (several like these exist) that use Yelpers on their payroll to post positive reviews for companies that are struggling with negative ones. I work for a company that was once contacted by one of these companies, and they promise to up your positives without the posts being bounced by Yelp.

Reviews such as:

"Stuy Town is a great place to visit. I have many friends who live there and I have heard nothing but positive reviews. The park is always clean and the apartments are updated and spacious. Definitely a great bang for the buck!!"

Or:

"Absolutely love it here! Spacious renovated apartments. Clean, green and quite oasis in the heart of east village. Great fast maintenances service."

Or:

"Love the community vibe! PCVST is a clean, well kept community where people of all ages can live together peacefully and happily. I'd stay here forever if I could!"

Or:

"It's a great community here. Wish it was a bit cheaper, but I guess you pay for the extras that you get. The grounds are kept very clean and there are a lot of events each month including movies, fitness classes and a farmers market. If I had kids, this would be these place to live- a lot of cute playgrounds and a lot of kids live here."

... are give-aways that the reviewers are not that familiar with the complex or are purposefully misleading. (ALL were posted on the same day, too!)

Again, the source of these outrageously positive reviews does not have to be management itself. It could be the brokers. But I believe that there is a concerted push by someone or some entity to start getting positive reviews onto Yelp to balance out the negative ones and ultimately overwhelm them. (The only way you can comment on these ridiculous reviews is to click on "funny" under the review.)

One more thing about Yelp. As you may notice there is a link to post photos on the upper right side. While the vast majority of photos are from management, several have gotten through from tenants. It's obvious which ones these are. So you are always welcome to post photos there, if your reviews do not make it.

This About Says It All For Newer Tenants

If you are a relatively new tenant (meaning you don't have a real rent-stabilized apartment, but are at the mercy of what happened after the Roberts decision), then you are probably aware by now of the difference between your real, base rent and your preferential rent. Upon lease-renewal the landlord has the ability to raise your rent up to your real rent, and there's nothing you can do about it. So it can be an extra $200, $400 or more, per month, which can force out people who are living here at the edge of financial stability. Tenants have been able to have a portion of these rents raises softened by management, but I've no idea by much, if, for certain tenants, at all.

Apparently, it was not enough for this tenant and her family, who posted on the Stuyvesant Town Peter Cooper Village Tenants Facebook page that's not run by the TA a simple message that says it all:

"We decided to not fight our lease renewal. Its just not worth it for the quality of living. We are moving to Bergen County NJ. Could anyone recommend a good moving company? Thanks a lot."

So families who wish to live here in this complex, and who currently do, have to make these type of decisions upon lease renewal time.

ST/PCV: Less families, more students.