If you've seen our recent blog post about Yelp's filter "Why Your Yelp Reviews Disappear", you've probably wondered how this works, and what the impact is.
Also, you may have heard of businesses running into trouble when they refuse advertising on Yelp.
The Washington Post took this on 2 years ago. It's been going on that long, in fact longer. Brook Silva-Braga, on-air reporter for the Washington Post, looked into these accusations and uncovered some unsettling, and in many cases, anger-inducing stories from the mouths of business owners just like you. In fact, many business owners have the same story to tell.
He likened these common stories to a "3 act play" of Yelp experience for the typical business owner.
Act I: Yelp Reviews Boost Business
The discoverability on the Yelp website and the Yelp app boost traffic to the business and bring in more customers. Often, the Yelp rating page is higher on Google search results than the business itself. (Really, Google?)
Act II: The Ad Sales Calls Begin, and Keep Coming
The business owner will be inundated by calls from the Yelp ad sales team. Sometimes multiple times per day. "Thanks, but no thanks", business owners tell them.
Act III: Yelp Reviews Start Disappearing
Off they go into the "not recommended" link way down at the bottom of the rating page. Business drops off.
Since 67% of Yelp reviews are typically positive, it's likely that it's mostly good reviews that disappear.
Business owners are left with ratings way lower than they had before, and their competitor's ads (who ponied up the money) showing up on their Yelp page.
We'll be reporting more on this soon, with first-hand interviews with business owners.