Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is Yelp Really a Help?

Lately my "To Do" work list is a mile long, but I feel the need to voice my disapproval about As a small business owner, I find their business practices to be unfair. I'm not sure if many of you are aware of how their review systems works, but Yelp has a filtering system in place. They claim that it has been put in place to protect both consumers and businesses from people leaving false reviews--either positive or negative. If a review comes in from a consumer, and that person does not have a review history with Yelp, it gets filtered out immediately.

I first learned of this filtering system, shortly after our first review. As both a business owner and a consumer, I can understand and appreciate this system to a certain degree. However, the system has recently changed. I am now noticing that reviews that have been left by our clients that do have a history with Yelp are now being filtered out for some reason. 10 of my Cinderella Company client reviews have been removed at an alarming rate these past 7 days. Sorry, but this is simply not right. From Oct of 2009 to date, The Cinderella Company has earned 35 five star reviews and only 20 of them were ever shown by Yelp. That number is now down to 9 this past week.

As a small business, the Yelp reviews have done much for our business. But I cannot help but feel that Yelp is manipulating the public into using their system on a regular basis. As a mother with a full-time job, I don't have the time nor desire to sit at my computer leaving massive amounts of reviews for companies. And if I do take the time to leave a review for a company, whether it be good or bad, I do expect for it to be posted. I think what Yelp is doing is unfair and dangerous and they don't seem to care about alienating small businesses. As soon as I noticed my reviews dropping off, I tried contacting them. The local SF phone number that I found
does not accept phone calls from consumers or businesses, and no one has responded to my email after locating the hard-to-find site contact info. In the end, I don't find Yelp be a real help
to people.