Yelp Reviews: Are they really unbiased?
Do you use Yelp as a resource when looking for advice on restaurants, handymen, or other professional service providers? You may want to look elsewhere if you seek unbiased reviews.
The review site, Yelp, has received a lot of negative press lately, concerning unethical business practices, concerning how the site filters reviews.
It gets worse. Not only does Yelp arbitrarily filter reviews, it is speculated the site also offers to remove negative reviews in exchange for advertising dollars. According to news site East Bay Express, “Yelp sales representatives promised to move or remove negative reviews if the business would advertise. In another six instances, positive reviews disappeared — or negative ones appeared — after owners declined to advertise.”
“Don’t Believe Yelp Reviews”
Complaints of extortion came to a head in October of 2011, when a class-action lawsuit was filed against Yelp claiming that they were removing negative reviews in exchange for “advertising.” This lawsuit was dismissed, but it brought Yelp’s reputation under fire, and extortion complaints continue to grow.
Huffington Post wrote an article titled, “Yelp Review Problems: Top 9 Reasons You Can’t Always Trust the Review Site.” This article, too, states, “Yelp salespeople have been known to call restaurants offering to push bad reviews far down on the list, if they’ll agree to pay to advertise.”
In an article written for Forbes blog, Jim Handy states, “…to put things in simple language, don’t believe Yelp reviews. Who knows how many of them have been deleted or obscured according to some secret policy?”
Combat Yelp Reviews
So, how do you combat Yelp’s biased display of reviews? We suggest taking a proactive approach through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and promotion of legitimate review sites, such as Google. Thankfully, Yelp isn’t the only review site online, and users are becoming more aware of how biased and unethical their company practices are.
Here’s a quick list of ways to combat reviews on Yelp:
- Encourage clients to leave positive reviews on Google + or Yahoo! Local
- Engage in an SEO campaign that pushes your business to the top of the search results
- Leave positive, helpful replies to negative reviews
- Build your reputation with social media, such as Facebook and Twitter
- Post testimonials on your website and blog
- Update and monitor local listings online
More Yelp Help
If you’d like a detailed, personalized plan for your business, contact Artonic. We offer SEO, Social Media Management, Reputation Management, and more. Visit www.ArtonicWeb.com; Call 517-902-7851; email [email protected].