Yelp! Facts and Fiction
1.) When you pay for Yelp Ads, that allows the business to manipulate their reviews (aka be able to remove negative reviews, add positive reviews).
FICTION-In reality, when a business pays for Yelp! Ads they are purchasing….well, ads. They pop up as orange-background, clearly-labeled Sponsored Results in various places on the site including on the top of search results. Along with their ads, advertisers also get to add a photo slide show to their business page, and they get to promote one favorite review at the top of their business page under the header “One of Advertiser’s Favorite Reviews.” With the exception of this one “Favorite Review,” consumer reviews for advertisers are handled exactly the same as consumer reviews for all other non-paying businesses. So no, advertisers never get special powers to remove a negative review, add a positive one or move reviews around on their page.
2) Every local business can setup a FREE Business Owner’s Account.
FACT- Any business can publicly post a description of the business, announce special offers, message customers, add photos, track traffic on their Yelp page and more!
3) Yelp reviewers get sued regularly by business owners for writing negative reviews.
FICTION- It is with in anyone’s rights online or in any other form to express their opinion according to the Constitution. This means any statement ranging from “I love the ambiance” to “The cashier was rude to me” or relate their true experiences “I ordered the shrimp scampi” and “The doctor wouldn’t accept my insurance” is more than allowed. The few business owners who have pursued the option of suing someone over a negative reviewer have met with little success, high legal bills, and a lot more attention focused on the negative review than they originally wanted.
4) To rank highly in Yelp search results, businesses have to buy advertising.
FICTION AND FACT- Business owners are able to pay for ad space at the top of search results that are clearly-labeled Sponsored Result at the top of the page, similar to how search engines have sponsored results. Other than that, Yelp’s numbered search results (all of the other listings in white background) have absolutely nothing to do with how much money they are dishing out to Yelp.
5) Yelp’s customer service team and the Review Filter can remove comments and reviews.
FACT- You may have seen a review at one point in time and then it is gone two weeks later. There are a couple reasons as to who is removing them and why. The review may have been suppressed by Yelp’s automated Review Filter, which is always out there looking for suspicious reviewing activity (like those anonymous rants and raves you see on other sites). The writer may have simply removed his or her own review. Another user may have believed the review violated Yelp’s Review Guidelines and sent it to their customer service team for review. The customer service team agreed, then manually removed the review.