This is a follow-up post to an earlier entry I wrote back in on March 21, 2010, titled Trouble with Yelp. It was about Yelp being sued for manipulating reviews and pressuring businesses into buying advertisements with them.
Last week, Yelp announced some changes in its policies. The first change they made was to start showing all reviews, even those they believe are spam or have inappropriate language. The regular reviews are shown at the top. Those reviews that would not have made it through the previous review process are shown in a separate area. There is a link at the bottom of the page you have to click on to get to them. I suspect that unless someone has been following this story, they will never see this link or if they do know what its for. Its on the right path, but I doubt Yelps critics will think it is enough. Yelp also got rid of most favorite review option. Under the old policies, businesses who paid for advertisements had the option to pick their favorite review and have it highlighted. This has also led to complaints from the business community that they are being pressured to advertise through Yelp. Those that didn’t were only not having favorable reviews highlighted, but according to the critics they were actually being removed.
Yelp insisted they did nothing wrong and that much of the problem was a misunderstanding on how they dealt with reviews. That no one was being favored by the process, they were simply weeding out spam and false reviews. This maybe true, however critics will point out that Yelp could have made these changes at anytime, but didn’t until they were faced with a law suit. As a user do think the changes will make a difference on how you see Yelp reviews. If you’re a business do feel better about Yelp now or has it made no difference.