Industry News | May 23, 2011

LIVE: Yelp Empowers Operators to Fight Bad Reviews

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Yelp!, the online retail and service review site, is on the floor at the NRA Show in Chicago for the first time to help restaurateurs learn how to deal with negative reviews.

Luther Lowe, business outreach manager at Yelp, told QSR at the show that many restaurant operators are not comfortable “with the idea that people can share their opinions online in a very public way.”

But Lowe says restaurants should get involved with Yelp and ensure they are using the popular review site to their benefit.  

 “There’s a lot of value in participating in these conversations, rather than burying your head in the sand and pretending they’re not happening,” he says.

Lowe says he’s actively trying to dispel a myth that Yelp does not help business operators deal with negative reviews. He says the site provides many tools for operators to take control of their Yelp profile—via biz.yelp.com—and that the company actively advises restaurateurs on steps they should take in the event of a bad review.

When bad reviews show up on Yelp—“The fact is you can’t please 100 percent of your customers 100 percent of a time,” Lowe says—businesses should first send a private message to the user trying to diplomatically smooth things over, he says.

If a review is factually inaccurate, Lowe says, the operator should make a public response to the review to correct the reviewer.

Lowe says Yelp also actively scans the site to make sure bogus reviews are removed. Users can flag reviews that they find unfair, which a team at Yelp scans to ensure their legitimacy, and a complex algorithm scans each of the site’s nearly 18 million reviews daily to flesh out any fishy reviewers.

Ultimately, though, operators must engage with their Yelp reviewers to provide whatever transparency and engagement they can for their customers, Lowe says.

“By creating an enticing presence on Yelp—by uploading photos, telling their story—and then getting engaged, responding to reviews, both privately and publicly, this thing, it actually turns out, is an incredible driver of new customers into the door,” he says.  

Moving into the future, Lowe says, Yelp will be getting involved with the group deals business to compete with the likes of Groupon and Facebook Deals.

“We’re uniquely positioned to provide some great offerings because all of the other deal sites use Yelp—they vet their clients on Yelp,” he says.

The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the restaurant industry's largest trade show. It takes place in Chicago's McCormick Place until Tuesday, May 24.

For more information, visit QSR at booth #4861.

By Sam Oches

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.

Comments

This is pure BS and I'll tell you why: yelp filters positive reviews so only negatives show u less you pay their $300+/month advertising fees. My business has 8 positives and one obviously fake negative (that violates their own TOS).I have been fighting this for a year now, even supplying a list of contact info forThe clients who have left positive reviews but the only thing showing is a fake negative.You might think this doesn't matter to you or that people don't really use yelp bit guess what comes up when someone searches for your business name on google? In my case the second result is yelp's negative review:http://www.google.com/search?q...Let me ask you this: How would you like the world to see a negative review posted from a competitor when searching for your company online -why can't yelp provide the same filtering for negative reviews that they do for positives? They've filtered 100% of my hard-won positive reviews. Not logical and damaging.Fred

I won't write my real name, or real business name, because I know from experience how dirty and vindictive Yelp is. I own a very small, tiny business. I'm not a restaurant serving hundreds of meals per day. I only see three clients per day. I have 39 FILTERED 5 STAR REVIEWS on Yelp, and ONE ONE STAR, written by a former unethical employer, (who I could have put behind bars, just FYI!) Almost 3 years ago, when I opened my own business, someone reviewed me on Yelp. 5 stars. I'd never heard of Yelp. Yelp then called and wanted me to advertise. I said, "Okay," but then it worked out to about $200 per click-through, and it was just too expensive for me. I called to cancel my contract, and they refused. I wound up paying them $1200 just to be "released." But from then on, I must have been put on their "watch and delete" list. Because the only Yelp that shows up is that negative one! And maybe a rotation of two or three others. It's very frustrating, but their underhanded tactics can't continue without making someone with more time and money than I have really mad! I just hope! I'm investigating whether or not the California Attorney General's office would like to pursue this. Yelp lost a class action, but still they have the power. If anyone knows anything about this, please let me know, okay? Thanks!

I agree with Fred in that Yelp has only posted one negative review that unfortunately pops up anytime our name is searched. It has removed at least 4 positive reviews in a nefarious process they call "filtering". My determination is that Yelp is on the take from competitors. I have refused to pay Yelp for advertising, hence my business is flagged and sullied since Yelp was not paid a "protection fee" like the cheap mobster it is. Yelp refuses to provide any fair explanation to repeated inquiry which flies in the face of logic. Therefore I too am investigating legal avenues and hope others will continue to post what a flawed and damaging entity Yelp is.I see there are many thousands of other business owners that find Yelp to be a thug service seeking to shake down legitimate businesses!

I won't write my real name, or real business name, because I know from experience how dirty and vindictive Yelp is. I own a very small, tiny business. I'm not a restaurant serving hundreds of meals per day. I only see three clients per day. I have 39 FILTERED 5 STAR REVIEWS on Yelp, and ONE ONE STAR, written by a former unethical employer, (who I could have put behind bars, just FYI!) Almost 3 years ago, when I opened my own business, someone reviewed me on Yelp. 5 stars. I'd never heard of Yelp. Yelp then called and wanted me to advertise. I said, "Okay," but then it worked out to about $200 per click-through, and it was just too expensive for me. I called to cancel my contract, and they refused. I wound up paying them $1200 just to be "released." But from then on, I must have been put on their "watch and delete" list. Because the only Yelp that shows up is that negative one! And maybe a rotation of two or three others. It's very frustrating, but their underhanded tactics can't continue without making someone with more time and money than I have really mad! I just hope! I'm investigating whether or not the California Attorney General's office would like to pursue this. Yelp lost a class action, but still they have the power. If anyone knows anything about this, please let me know, okay? Thanks!

I won't write my real name, or real business name, because I know from experience how dirty and vindictive Yelp is. I own a very small, tiny business. I'm not a restaurant serving hundreds of meals per day. I only see three clients per day. I have 39 FILTERED 5 STAR REVIEWS on Yelp, and ONE ONE STAR, written by a former unethical employer, (who I could have put behind bars, just FYI!) Almost 3 years ago, when I opened my own business, someone reviewed me on Yelp. 5 stars. I'd never heard of Yelp. Yelp then called and wanted me to advertise. I said, "Okay," but then it worked out to about $200 per click-through, and it was just too expensive for me. I called to cancel my contract, and they refused. I wound up paying them $1200 just to be "released." But from then on, I must have been put on their "watch and delete" list. Because the only Yelp that shows up is that negative one! And maybe a rotation of two or three others. It's very frustrating, but their underhanded tactics can't continue without making someone with more time and money than I have really mad! I just hope! I'm investigating whether or not the California Attorney General's office would like to pursue this. Yelp lost a class action, but still they have the power. If anyone knows anything about this, please let me know, okay? Thanks!

I agree with Fred in that Yelp has only posted one negative review that unfortunately pops up anytime our name is searched. It has removed at least 4 positive reviews in a nefarious process they call "filtering". My determination is that Yelp is on the take from competitors. I have refused to pay Yelp for advertising, hence my business is flagged and sullied since Yelp was not paid a "protection fee" like the cheap mobster it is. Yelp refuses to provide any fair explanation to repeated inquiry which flies in the face of logic. Therefore I too am investigating legal avenues and hope others will continue to post what a flawed and damaging entity Yelp is.I see there are many thousands of other business owners that find Yelp to be a thug service seeking to shake down legitimate businesses!

I agree with Fred in that Yelp has only posted one negative review that unfortunately pops up anytime our name is searched. It has removed at least 4 positive reviews in a nefarious process they call "filtering". My determination is that Yelp is on the take from competitors. I have refused to pay Yelp for advertising, hence my business is flagged and sullied since Yelp was not paid a "protection fee" like the cheap mobster it is. Yelp refuses to provide any fair explanation to repeated inquiry which flies in the face of logic. Therefore I too am investigating legal avenues and hope others will continue to post what a flawed and damaging entity Yelp is.I see there are many thousands of other business owners that find Yelp to be a thug service seeking to shake down legitimate businesses!

I cannot believe that Yelp is allowed to flourish and brandish their form of bullying on a public that has absolutely no recourse but to just take it. As a small business, 'customer service' is the most important product I have to sell. I want all of my customers to be happy when they leave my store, but I have no way to confront my accusers other than on their site for the world to see or privately to no avail because I know my accuser is a disgruntled competitor. There is not even a way to contact Yelp or get a review removed. How is it that Yelp is allowed to "sell" advertising on a site that is supposed to be neutral? I have a business to run, and I hate that I must take time out of my busy day to even respond to the mafia tactics that Yelp uses. Must I "buy" protection? Where can I go to leave a review for Yelp???

Thios has become a very big problem for my busniss every since I canceled my yelp account I have received multiple bad reviews. A year ago I had 9 great reviews now there gone and bad reviews are on. I believe do believe if you pay there service they will block the neg reviews... A>C>D> of Austin tx

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