We recently revisited our business page on the website Yelp.com and were surprised to see that our positive reviews were “filtered.” In other words, they are hidden and not immediately visible to prospective customers. This prompted us to do a little detective work and attempt to learn more about Yelp’s criteria for featuring vs. filtering reviews about local businesses….
Note: scroll all the way down if you’re just here to read our great reviews!
Many of us rely on Yelp to help us find the best restaurant in town or the the most popular local bike repair mechanic. Yelp can be a valuable tool for evaluating the popularity of a local business. Indeed, we turn to them regularly. However, did you know that Yelp often hides reviews and that a business’s overall rating often doesn’t factor in a large portion of submitted reviews?
Writer Jim Handy blogged about this for Forbes.com in his article, “Think Yelp is Unbiased? Think Again!!” As Handy describes it, Yelp applies obscure and arcane rules for choosing which Yelp reviews will be featured and which will be filtered. He personally experienced this when a positive review that he wrote was filtered.
So what are these arcane rules that cause Yelp reviews to be filtered? Yelp’s explanation of their filtering process is very vague and just features a general description of how the filter was created to protect the community from fraudulent reviews. As consumers, we respect that motive, but does Yelp unnecessarily screen reviews from legitimate sources?
The community at large is full of conjecture on the actual criteria (read “fancy algorithm”) behind Yelp’s filter. Some believe Yelp applies a filter to any review submitted by a new reviewer in the Yelp community. Others claim Yelp filters positive reviews in an attempt to get business owners to become paying members of the Yelp community. There was, in fact, a class action lawsuit against Yelp that claimed Yelp was extorting businesses to force them to buy advertising in exchange for featuring positive reviews and repressing negative ones. As reported in the LA Times, Yelp won the lawsuit. However, Yelp’s Chief Executive Jeremy Stoppelman conceded:
‘protecting content integrity is a “difficult task” and sometimes “legitimate content” can get caught.’
We are living proof that Yelp’s filtering process sometimes filters legitimate content. We have never ever forged, demanded or even solicited Yelp reviews from our community. And yet, our five 5-star Yelp reviews (all of our Yelp reviews!) have been filtered. That doesn’t seem fair. For businesses like ours, which engage primarily with other businesses and don’t have a huge community of users, reviews from high-frequency Yelpers like the kind whom Yelp favors are rare, if not unlikely.
We’re not going to waste time pouting, though. We have put in a request to Yelp to reconsider whether our reviews should be filtered or not. We’ll let you know how that goes. [update: Yelp sent us a generic reply which referred us to their video explaining why reviews are sometimes filtered]
More importantly, we want to take this chance to let you know that our great Yelp reviews really do exist. They are available on our Yelp page with a little digging, and we believe they add value to the customer experience, even though they don’t factor into an overall rating for our business. Here they are, included below as a screen grab…and we’re proud of them.
Thank you to the folks in our community who felt moved to write a review! We’re extremely grateful to you. That is not a solicitation, but a gesture of gratitude. Now, we’ll go back to giving the great service we’ve always provided.
LimeTech is a creative tech company with a focus on app development. We help brands grow their impact by building digital products that please customers and solve business challenges. Our work includes strategy, design, content, and tech planning. Check out our portfolio or reach out to start a conversation about your project.
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