Why Yelp can’t be trusted

Yelp logo
reported recently on a growing problem with Yelp, the consumer rating site. As they reported,

a small minority of Yelp reviewers have been abusing the system, threatening places with bad reviews unless they get freebies and assorted perks (or, though it’s not mentioned in the article, that restaurateurs are flooding Yelp with positive reviews they or their friends write under false IDs)…

…Anyway, that unethical Yelpers have been basically extorting restaurateurs is no big surprise. And neither is the fact that Yelp’s filtering process is far from foolproof. What is somewhat surprising, and a little depressing, is that no one seems to have devised a better way to tackle the issue head-on.”

And until the issue has been tackled, (and certainly we hope so for fairness and to appropriately reward good businesses), it looks like using Yelp and similar sites should be approached with caution.

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One Comment

  • geoff@kupesoftware.com  on  June 22, 2012

    Don't know if it's the same in the US, but in the UK, Yelp started by recruiting freelancers to write reviews in their city. The first twenty or so reviews by any of these paid reviewers have some merit, but of course before long the reviews are "reviewing" places they've never even seen, let alone tried! These Yelp reviewers have sometimes 1000 reviews to their name, none of which have any value. So, given that, I treat Yelp with suspicion.

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