Friday, March 19, 2010

Yelp Tries to Explain Review Filter with Video

By Kathleen Richards
Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 10:00 AM

In light of three recent lawsuits against Yelp alleging extortion, the San Francisco-based company posted a video yesterday on its blog in attempt to explain how their review filter works. Yelp's algorithm has been the subject of confusion for some business owners who don't understand why reviews come and go on their page. According to Yelp, the explanation is that its automated system removes reviews by users who do not post frequently in order to ensure that they’re not written by shills or competitors. However, what Yelp’s video doesn’t address is why, according to the businesses involved in the lawsuits as well as others, some Yelp sales reps offer to remove negative reviews of their businesses if they advertise, or why positive reviews (even ones written by Elite Yelpers) suddenly disappear immediately after being contacted by Yelp sales reps while negative ones remain (or negative ones appear), or why Yelp sometimes refuses to take down reviews that apparently violate their own Terms of Use. And, in some cases, Yelp sales reps have removed negative reviews and then explicitly told the business owners that they’d done so in order to get them advertise.

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