Business owners are finding a new reason to be angry at Yelp.
Yahoo and Yelp recently struck a deal in which all Yahoo Local reviews will be replaced by Yelp reviews. Yahoo, in a move that suggests it was ready to get out of the review business, turned to review behemoth Yelp to fill in the gap on its local business listings.
Many business owners, however, feel that their Yelp reviews don’t accurately reflect customers’ perceptions of the business. While Yelp notoriously uses filters to try and weed out fake reviews, business owners have claimed that it filters out the most glowing reviews and features the worst reviews most prominently—giving their companies a bad online reputation.
The new Yahoo-Yelp deal is especially hard on the businesses that have built strong Yahoo local business listings. Dan Tringale, owner of Colonial Hardwood Flooring in Lexington, Massachusetts, told The Wall Street Journal, that he lost nearly 50 reviews of his business from over the past six years. Most of the reviews were positive.
“It’s a slap in the face that they took all of those reviews down overnight,” Tringale says, adding that it’s like Yahoo “just took away six or seven years of hard work.”
Beverly Ulbrich, owner of The Pooch Coach in San Francisco, said that she had a 5.5 out of 6 rating on Yahoo. But now that her Yelp reviews have replaced them, her online reputation has gone bad. Yelp, she told Bloomberg, has filtered out many of her best reviews and left her worst ones on her profile.
Vincent Sollitto, Yelp’s vice president of corporate communications, said that Yelp filtered out many of The Pooch Coach’s favorable reviews because they all came from the same IP address as the business. “The reason that we’re so successful in having trustworthy content is that we have a faithful community of followers,” he told Bloomberg, adding: “We have to recommend reviews that we can stand by.”
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