Yelp is a social media review site. User of Yelp write reviews on business that they use and go to. It is an application that I use occasionally myself especially if I go to a new business. This can be a win for both businesses and the consumer. However, I have seen several articles about businesses “who are suing Yelp for unfair and unethical conduct in promoting, marketing and advertising its website as maintaining unbiased reviews” is unlawful.” .
The lawsuits, indicate that businesses who do not agree to pay Yelp to advertise on their websites have had favorable reviews removed from Yelp. If this was just one report, I would toss it off as sour grapes. However there have been a smattering of similar complaints across the country. The story is basically the same, the company in question was getting mostly good reviews on Yelp. They then get a call from Yelp offering them the opportunity to buy monthly advertisement when they decline the offer, their favorable reviews were removed or dropped off greatly.
As a user I hope this is not true. I depend on Yelp to tell me if a business is worth using or going to. If I am getting reviews that are being manipulated by Yelp, then it is useless to me. It also doesn’t make sense as a business decision for Yelp. Review sites like Yelp depend on consumers believing that the reviews are based on all customer feedback to the site, both positive and negative. If it was ever confirm that Yelp was manipulating the data, that would mean the end for them.
Yelp, says its simply a misunderstanding how the process is done. Unfortunately,some businesses try to game the system, creating fake reviews to build up their reputation. Yelp watches the reviews using both a computers and individuals to catch and remove false reviews. However if businesses can prove that Yelp is manipulating reviews against those businesses who do not advertise with them, then Yelp is in trouble. As I said before I hope this lawsuits have no merit, I will definitely be waiting for the results.