Yelp Reviews Are Filtered: Businesses Claim Extortion In Lawsuits

Beware, Many Yelp Reviews Are Filtered or Hidden

Did you know that Yelp reviews are filtered based on a Yelp algorithm?

  •  A “filtered” Yelp review is Not readily visible to the public
  • AND, it is Not taken into consideration in Yelp’s overall star rating for a business

Actually, Yelp just changed the wording on their website as follows:

  • Non-filtered Yelp reviews are now called “recommended”
  • Filtered Yelp reviews are now called “not currently recommended”

The bottom line is that Yelp is still filtering reviews regardless of the change in wording on their website.  You can view filtered Yelp reviews that are hidden, many of which are 5 star reviews, by doing the following:

  • Scroll to the end of the first page of a business’ reviews
  • Look for a light gray “link” that starts with a number and then says “other reviews that are not currently recommended” (or look for a number followed by the word “filtered”)
  • Click the link to view all of the reviews that Yelp is Not taking into consideration when they publish a business’ overall star rating

What I’ve noticed is that some of my customers are getting a bad rap on Yelp…and it is mainly because Yelp is filtering out…or hiding…a large number of their 5 star reviews!  I’ve read numerous blog & video comments from businesses saying that they are experiencing the same thing.  And many businesses are suffering, or having to close their business, due to Yelp’s review filtering practices.  Does this make sense or seem fair to you?  It doesn’t to me!  Below are videos that tell the story of just a few of the businesses that say Yelp’s practices are extortion!

Class Action Lawsuit: Businesses Bitten By Yelp?

Michael Turko, KUSI News Investigates

(Video uploaded to YouTube 7/03/12)

Why Are Yelp Reviews Hidden From Consumers?

Brook Silva-Braga, The Washington Post

(Uploaded to YouTube 5/21/2013)

ABC News Coverage of Lawsuit Against Yelp

(Video about an older class action lawsuit, uploaded to YouTube on 2/26/2010)

Yelp Does Businesses a Dis-Service!

You Need To Look At The Big Picture

My plea to you, in support of all the small businesses out there, is that you take a Yelp Reviews and their Rating System with a grain of salt.  Look a little further into a business’ online reputation & reviews before you make a snap decision on which business to purchase from:

  • Read Yelp’s non-filtered reviews…sorted by date so you can see the most recent comments in case a business’ reviews have improved or gotten worse over time
  • Read the “filtered” Yelp reviews
  • Read a business’ reviews on other sites such as Google+, Merchant Circle, Kudzu, TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon, Insider Pages, etc…  (The list of sites where you can read online reviews goes on and on.)
  • Look for testimonials/reviews on a business’ own website or blog, on their LinkedIn company page, their Facebook page or any number of other social profiles

Once you’ve looked at the bigger picture of a business’ online reputation…and not relied solely on Yelp…you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about who to buy from or do business with.  And if you post online reviews, consider posting on more reputable sites like Google+, Bing Local, Yahoo Local, etc..  (Update:  You can no longer post a review on Bing Local or Yahoo Local.  Read “Beware: Bing & Yahoo Only Display Yelp Reviews!” to learn more.)

If more people do the above, I’m hoping that it will help small businesses avoid the Yelp review death trap!

Share This Blog Post

To Inform Others & Help Small Businesses

If you’ve decided that there really is a bigger world of online reputation out there, that goes beyond Yelp reviews, please share this blog post with your friends, family & business associates.  If enough people rally for the small business, we can make a difference for them!


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