A little birdie told me

You probably didn’t notice, but there’s a middle finger on the front cover.

A co-worker saw it this week before going print and mentioned something about how Yelp probably will be bummed. I don't disagree.

But there's more to it, I hope. I know for a fact that a lot of us in SN&R's editorial department use Yelp and its mobile app. I personally enjoyed time spent with Yelpers for this week's cover story (see “The Yelp factor,” page 18). Community manager Alex Lane and Yelp Elite Squad user Michael Saucedo are assets to Sacramento. And nice dudes.

Perhaps the cover is, instead, a message from local businesses to Yelp. I'm convinced a majority of them can't stand the tech giant.

Maybe it's a Yelp user telling a business that screwed them out of their hard-earned money to buzz off.

Or is Yelp telling all of us to take a hike? If there's one thing I learned from reporting this story, it's that even though Sacramento's small-business owners despise Yelp, the company actually brings them a lot of business.

It's also worth asking whether Yelp does that much harm. Consider my brother's girlfriend. She's a local hairstylist. Her Yelp reviews are predominately glowing. She, of course, has been on the receiving end of a few negative flamers. But Yelp has helped more than it has hurt, and she says that she's busier than ever over at Alchemy Salon & Spa (ahem).

If your business is truly suffering from crummy Yelp reviews, then maybe Yelp is just accelerating the inevitable.

Confused? Eff it—just read this week's issue.