NY Times Offers More Balance on Yelp

picture-7Claire Cain Miller has a piece in the NY Times (sent to me by several people) about Yelp and some of the recent controversy that has surrounded the site. My comments don’t appear in the article but I spoke to her at some length about the story and some of the allegations leveled against the site.

The article generally focuses on the balancing act that Yelp faces in maintaining its fidelity to consumers while seeking to expand advertiser rolls and services offered to SMBs. She identifies many of the policies and practices that some SMBs have complained about:

  • Reviews are removed from time to time and businesses typically don’t understand why. They get upset when good reviews disappear
  • SMBs don’t get to respond to reviewers publicly on the site (this is something that I’ve spoken to CEO Jeremy Stoppelman about explicitly. He feels the “back and forth” reviews and explanations would compromise the user experience). Business owners can email reviewers privately to resolve issues and complaints
  • Advertisers get to select a (typically positive) review to show up at the top of their Yelp profile. This, for some, suggests manipulation of the system and implies that others are punished for declining to advertise

This article, however, should put to rest the allegations of review manipulation to reward or punish small business advertisers (or prospects) at Yelp. It will also help further the debate about what features and services Yelp should offer to create more balance between its consumer-users and local businesses to whom it sells advertising.

2 Responses to “NY Times Offers More Balance on Yelp”

  1. A Series of Tubes » Yelp CEO Jeremy Responds to oehlberg.com Says:

    […] Greg Sterling (local analyst):  Greg is anayyzing the NYtimes article from above in a blog post.  The conclusion he draws, without doing any reporting himself, is that “This article, however, should put to rest the allegations of review manipulation to reward or punish small business advertisers (or prospects) at Yelp”.  Sorry Greg but I did not get that out of the NYTimes piece. […]

  2. EdwinPollock Says:

    Balanced or not is not the problem. If you help 10 businesses that pay you $12,000/year and at the same time put 12 businesses out of business, and over 100 people loose their job…where is the balance . This is just the same as the plain old Mofia protection crap. Too many people and companies all over the web are saying the same thing..time to wake up to what Yelp really is before it is too late.

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