Have you heard of the business review system named YELP? YELP is a review site that publishes reviews on a great deal of businesses, from Restaurants to retail, but does it help or hurt the small business?
Did you know the review site for Yelp unlike other rating systems, hides reviews that they deem not worthy of posting. Is this what the consumer wants? YELP encourages its users to rate businesses based on a 5 star rating system and utilizes an internal “sophisticated software system” that filters reviews. This hides review information from consumers reviewing categories of small businesses. What does this do? When the average Yelp user uses this review system to choose a worthy place to do business, they may only be looking at the star rating. They allow up to 5 stars. Who would click on a business that has a poor rating with less than 5 stars? The business may in fact, have numerous excellent reviews which are hidden. These hidden reviews are actually on the businesses Yelp page but in very light undetectable hidden italics. Someone would really have to be looking for these to see more reviews.
Other review mediums such as google, consumer reports, carfax, trip advisor, open table, facebook, youtube, expedia, travelocity, angie’s list, yahoo do not use this system of hiding reviews. Yelp claims they hide reviews because they have an engineering algorithm that eliminates reviews they feel are not valid about the business?
A small business depends on its reviews and if all the listed above credible review sources don’t hide reviews allowing people to see the good and bad reviews why does Yelp do this? Independent research studies have shown that an increase in a YELP star correlates positively with an increase in business and thereby revenues. Why is this in direct opposition to what other review sites use?
All small businesses have competition. An example: a competitor may not want a small new business in its area and could poorly review the new business to help themselves, which Yelp seems to post? This could cause a small business to fail. Could it be that YELP favors those businesses who utilize paid advertising with the review site? There have been lawsuits filed claiming YELP deleted or suppressed customer reviews in exchange for an advertising contract.
This seems odd when America depends on the success of small business to provide work for more than half of Americans. Is this helping America when the unemployment rate hovers nationally from 4% to 8%. Do we need review systems like Yelp to potentially cause businesses to fail? This is sad!
Your feedback to Yelp may help save small business in America!
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Dr. Warren Johnson | Dr. Do Nguyen | Dr. Burt Bodan