Uncategorized – Seattle's Maple Leaf Locksmith LLC – (206)335-4559


Key fingerprint = 5571 BAEE 3001 4FE8 682A E06C 7A87 F9F8 CA97 BA46

Send me important and sensitive information that must remain secure using this. If you are interested in learning more about encryption of your communications please refer to this.
I will not send secure information like masterkey systems or key bittings unless I have verified your encryption key already.

Lose your padlock key? Never again!

Get with the times, buy a padlock that will last for sixty years and is rekeyable to your housekey.  Getting a decent padlock doesn’t have to break the bank.  They only cost $20, and they can be rekeyed for the common keyways like SC1, KW1, Medeco, etc.  Minimize the number of keys you have to carry and get a lock worth having.  Do you want a $5 object as the only protection for your belongings?  I have padlocks that you can’t remove with boltcutters!  They are probably better than the hasp you will put them on (I can get you a better hasp, too).

Try out the Abus 83/45 series:

This lock has dual ball bearings meaning that it is difficult to open using shim attacks.  It is made of solid brass, conferring corrosion resistance.  The schackle is also coated with a substance to prevent corrosion in salty environments.  The shackle can be replaced with a larger shackle.  It has a 5/16″ shackle.

If you need better security I can also sell you a padlock with a protected shackle and thicker shackle.  Of course, it is more money too.  It is also a high quality product that will last your whole life and can be serviced to replace worn out parts (if used really often) or have the padlock rekeyed occasionally.  I can even get you a shackle with your company name on it.

Cut Your Own Keys For Cheap!

Right now there is a big DIY crowd harnessing the latest in technology and coupling it with the opensource movement, meaning people are sharing their discoveries for free.  Frequently they use tools which you can build yourself and are documented well by the same people.  Hackaday.com  is always interesting but today one project caught my eye: How to cut your own keys using a CNC mill.  It will be interesting to see how this project progresses, because there are a lot of people out there who have locks for which blanks are simply not made anymore and if the lock is in good condition it is a shame to throw it away simply because of a lack of key blanks.

3d printers are also making inroads in additive material key creation.  If the materials they use get harder and more durable, it could be a replacement for traditional key cutting.  So if you have a RepRap printer or a CNC mill, the work is already being done for you.  Start cutting your own keys!  (Just call me when you get locked out or need rekeying)

Worried about lending out your key?

Here is the dilemma: you need to let somebody into your house while you aren’t there for some reason, but you are worried that the key may be used for an ulterior motive.  I have the answer for you.

1.  The cheapest solution is to have a side or back door keyed differently.  Make the doorknob work with a key you lend out but the deadbolt lock is thesame as the rest of the house.  When you want somebody to be able to access your house, just leave the deadbolt unlocked.  After the workman has finished his work, leave the deadbolt locked and nobody can enter with the spare key because the deadbolt is still locked.

2. A more elegant solution is to masterkey the doorknob.  Then the doorknob can be unlocked and relocked with both keys.  You can lock out people with the loner key with the deadbolt.

3. Another solution is to get locksets installed that are interchangeable core.  Then you can change your locks at will.  Change the lock for the day, when you get home change it back.  This is probably too extreme for most homeowners and reserved for sufferers of paranoia and control freaks.

4. My favorite solution, a combination of 1 and 2, is to change your locks to use a restricted keyway and masterkey the doorknob on any door of your choosing.  Then you lend out a key to somebody and they can’t copy it anywhere.  I can supply you with the MX2 keyway, one which locksmiths and distributors are legally bound to not sell blanks or copies of.  If you get MX2 locks from me, I write down your name and bitting and encrypt it using PGP.  If anybody asks me to copy an MX2 key, unless I made it I will say no.

I can assist you in this matter using any of the strategies outlined.  Keep a knob separately keyed and save $20 on rekeying.  Have me rekey just one lock for $20.  Installing interchangeable core locks is more expensive and worth an estimate.

Yelp is trying to scam me

6/20/13 Update: Yelp has filtered five out of six of my reviews.  Whether as a response to this posting or to increase pressure on me to pay advertising dollars or just coincidence, I leave you to decide.  Whatever the case, I am taking my advertising dollars and using them anywhere but yelp, where I have six reviews that are five stars each, all written by real people, and almost none of them visible.


Many people don’t know, but there have been a lot of bad reviews of yelp, the review site.  The reason?  Yelp has been accused of extorting money out of people to have their ads appear higher in yelp’s search results.  It has actually been shown that yelp will hide good reviews and promote bad reviews of people who don’t pay for yelp advertising.  As soon as they do start paying for yelp advertising, they promote good reviews and hide bad reviews, and don’t put competitor’s ads on your “page”.  Think about that for a second.

The reputation of a website that deals in reviews should be like that of a locksmith: you need to have trust in that company.  I lost my trust in yelp when I decided that today I would look into advertising on yelp but came to realize that yelp was actually hiding me in search results for locksmiths.  They have been asking me to start paying for advertising over the last few months and I suspect this is related.  Following is documentation featuring screen captures of yelp search results sorted in different ways.  I have five reviews that are each five stars, but when I sort locksmiths in North Seattle by “Highest Rated” I don’t even appear on the first page.  Who does appear?  A lot of locksmiths who only have one star reviews.

For the first picture, we have:This clearly shows that number 17 is “Bill’s Locksmith Service who only has 3.5 stars with three reviews.  I have 5 stars from five reviews.  Anybody who graduated from high school knows that I should be above Bill.  I have better ratings and more ratings.

Second, we have this picture which shows the top results for North Seattle and my neighborhood.  As you can see, when listed by “Highest Rated” Maple Leaf Locksmith LLC does not show up.  24 Hour Locksmith does, even though they only have 1 star out of 4 reviews.  That means every single reviewer left them 1 star.  That means that Yelp is probably trying to pressure me to buy advertising, so that I might be reinstated to my rightful place in the search results.  Search results that you rightfully assume are unbiased.

Third is this picture showing where I actually show up.  “Shay” is the woman who is representing yelp and asking me to pay for advertising with them.  I have notified her numerous times of fallacious listings in the locksmith category of yelp as well, yet here they all still are, coming in above me with one star reviews when the results are specifically sorted by average stars per review.

yelp has built a very good database of businesses built for free by people like you and me.  They are using data we edited and collected to make money.  They need to make sure that this data is presented  is used to going to yelp and using it.  I have been using yelp for restaurant reviews as well as everything else under the sun for years, but now that I know their business practices I am reluctant to believe what I read on yelp.  I think I am going to try using Google Local instead.  I emailed yelp to let them know that they would receive no advertising money until they changed how search results are displayed.  If I have five stars, I want my business listed above somebody with four stars and it better be listed above a business with only one star.  My email to Shay@yelp.com follows:

Shay, this is Bjorn the locksmith with Maple Leaf Locksmith LLC in Seattle.  I looked at the advertising prices today and was impressed enough that I set up an advertising campaign but then when I went to preview the ad, my business didn’t even show up in the locksmith listings.  I have five reviews and they are all five stars so I expect when I sort businesses by how well they are rated, my business will come in above a locksmith business that only has one star.
This is unfortunately not the case.  I have attached a screenshot of the results I see when searching Seattle for a locksmith.  I don’t even come up on the list.  I have to zoom in to my own neighborhood before i come up, and my business is underneath businesses with only one star reviews.  If yelp wants my money they had better fix this issue because I am not about to pay a lot of money for ads if your service isn’t going to even put me in search results.  I have five reviews that are each five stars.  I should be very high on the list of locksmiths when the list is sorted by rating.

The second picture I have attached is a list of locksmiths in the Green Lake area.  There are only two legit locksmiths here.  I have the results sorted by “most highly rated”.  I am rated more highly than all but two locksmiths in the area, yet I come in as number 8.  Why is that?

If yelp wants their website to continue being useful, yelp will sort results correctly.  I get the impression that yelp is making me appear lower in search results because they are hoping that I will pay for ads.  If I feel this kind of pressure I will just take my business to Angie’s List and google.

I will close by saying that I would be happy to enter an advertising agreement with yelp but only on the condition that my business appears where it should when locksmiths are sorted by “highest rated”.  I have worked hard for these ratings and I feel cheated to not see my business ranked third where it belongs in the ratings.  I look forward to hearing back from Yelp about this serious matter and seeing it rectified.


Bjorn Madsen

An additional letter to yelp:

Now I notice that yelp has filtered five out of the six reviews that I had.  These were all written by real people who are customers.  I feel strongly that yelp is attempting to extort money out of me for advertising and is punishing me for not buying in.  I will not pay yelp for advertising after witnessing this.  I will take my advertising dollars to the local newspaper and other forms of media instead.  I will also no longer ask people to leave me reviews on yelp.  If yelp continues this sort of thing they will find more and more people will start using google maps instead and yelp will fade into obscurity, just like citysearch did five years before.

-Bjorn Madsen


Following is an interesting parable about a customer dealing with yelp extortion from the other side.  He pulled his bad review from a business’s page because he felt bad for the business, and how they were being extorted.  As soon as his review was removed, the ranking shot up three points!


I’ve seen this happen first-hand. I once submitted a 2 star review due to awful service at a business in town. It happened to be the first review.

A year later, the business owner called me, begging me to take down my review. It turns out they had gotten their act together, and had *22* 4/5 and 5/5 star reviews on Yelp after mine. However, Yelp’s “filtering” algorithm only took my review into account, so it showed a 2/5 star rating for the business and hid the other 22 reviews from site (you would have to click a link to see “more reviews”).

The business owner told me Yelp would “unlock” the hidden reviews if he advertised with them.

I realized how damaging this could be to businesses and decided to take down my review. His rating shot to 4.5/5. If Yelp hadn’t so clearly been trying to extort cash from small businesses, I would have left my review up, and told the owner to deal with it.”

and this

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1355777992 No Victim

    In regards to their filter I would like to share my experience. Initiallly, I, like many of my colleagues, had no presence on Yelp. Suddenly, an equivocal review oddly appeared on their site which seemed somehow……….fake. Next, after a series of unsuccesful phone solicitations for advertising I noticed a couple negative reviews, interestingly written by reviewers without an established record of having previously reviewed and without any significant connections/communications on their site. One of them was the one and only review ever written by that person. It is the conjecture of many that the Yelp filter removes reviews as potentially fake which lack those characterisitics however, in my case, they were made prominent. We then tested the filter by asking known highly satisfied customers who had reviewed us about their experience and every single one of those reviews was filtered! These were filtered even when the reviewers were established Yelpers who had written many other reviews and made other connections. When I surveyed other businesses in my area who had advertised, their positive reviews were NOT filtered in this way. Positive reviews, even when written by first timers were prominently displayed. NOt surprisingly, all of these businesses ultimately grew dissatisfied with Yelp. They all complained they were overpaying for advertising which failed to yield expected results and were way overpaying for page views. In summary: Yelp is an extortion fraud and a seriously flawed business which fails to deliver on its advertising promises.

So yelp, what will it be?  Are you going to fix your bs search engine or am I going to advertise with the newspaper instead?