Common Questions

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One of the reviews for my business is missing. What happened?

There are three possibilities:

  1. The person who wrote the review may have deleted it. This doesn’t happen very often, but you’ll typically see it when someone closes their Yelp account.
  2. The review may have been removed by our User Operations team. This only happens if the review violates our Content Guidelines or if the reviewer violated our Terms of Service .
  3. The review is not currently being recommended by Yelp’s automated recommendation software. The review is still accessible to users on your business page beneath the recommended reviews, but it doesn’t factor into your review count or overall star rating. This is a routine function of our automated software and affects every business listed on the site. You can read more about the process below.

Why does Yelp recommend some reviews but not others?

We get millions of reviews from our users, and we try to showcase the ones that best reflect the opinions of the Yelp community. The remaining reviews are accessible from a link at the bottom of each business’s profile page, but they don’t factor into a business’s overall star rating or review count.

This approach is very different from other sites that tend to feature rants and raves from anyone and everyone. We do our best to nurture a community of users who actively contribute reliable and useful content.

How does Yelp decide which reviews to recommend?

We use automated software developed by our engineers to recommend reviews from the Yelp community. The software looks at dozens of different signals, including various measures of quality, reliability, and activity on Yelp. Most of all, however, it’s looking for people who are intrinsically motivated to share the wide range of rich and detailed experiences they have every day with local businesses. On average, our software recommends about three quarters of the reviews that are submitted to the site.

Why would a review not be recommended?

There are a number of reasons why a review might not be recommended. For example, the review might have been posted by a less established user, or it may seem like an unhelpful rant or rave. Some of these reviews are fakes (like the ones that originate from the same computer) and some suggest a bias (like the ones written by a friend of the business owner), but many are real reviews from real customers who we just don’t know much about and therefore can’t recommend.

Do Yelp advertisers get preferential treatment?

No. Our recommendation software treats advertisers and non-advertisers exactly the same. You’ll find plenty of Yelp advertisers with negative reviews, and plenty of non-advertisers with five-star ratings across the board.

Furthermore, there is zero relationship between the timing of when a review gets recommended and when a business decides to – or declines to – advertise: reviews can be recommended or not recommended days, weeks, or even months after they were first posted, and your friendly Yelp sales representative doesn’t have any influence over when that might happen.

In short, there is no relationship between reviews and anything having to do with Yelp Ads or the Yelp Ads sales process. Period.

What should I do if someone writes a negative review about my business?

You can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time, no matter how hard you try. Negative reviews are an unfortunate — but entirely normal — part of doing business. We get them too.

While it’s important to look for patterns in your reviews (e.g. people keep mentioning that the bread is stale or that a particular employee is rude), you shouldn’t read too much into any one review. Most Yelp users are looking for a consensus among all of the reviews they read rather than accepting the gospel of any one review, so you should do the same.

Of course, you can always contact the reviewer or post a public response. but be forewarned that responding to criticism with criticism of your own will almost always work against you.

What should I do if someone writes a review about my business that isn’t true?

We don’t arbitrate disputes, so your best bet is to contact the reviewer or post a public response in order to clear up any misunderstandings. If it is clear on the face of the review that it violates our Content Guidelines (e.g. the reviewer admittedly describes a second-hand experience or uses a racial slur), you can report the review to bring it to our attention.

Should I ask my customers to write reviews for me on Yelp?

No, you shouldn’t ask your customers to post reviews on Yelp.

For one thing, most businesses tend to ask their happiest customers to write reviews, not the unhappy ones. These self-selected reviews tell only part of the story, and we don’t think that’s fair to consumers. We would much rather hear from members of the Yelp community who are inspired to talk about their experiences without a business owner’s encouragement.

As a result, you shouldn’t be surprised if our software fails to recommend the reviews that you’ve asked your customers to write. Your best bet to get high quality and unbiased reviews about your business is to provide a memorable and amazing customer experience – it has nothing to do with asking your customers to post on Yelp.

Yelp seems like a place for people to vent about bad experiences. Aren’t most reviews negative?

We crunched the numbers, and here’s what we found (as of December 2013). As you can see, only a tiny fraction of the reviews we recommend are less than three stars.

Independent researchers at Harvard and Boston University similarly debunked the myth that Yelp skews negative by showing that Yelp recommended far more positive than negative reviews.

Why are so many of the positive reviews for my business not getting recommended?

Here are some possible explanations:

  1. Some of these reviews may have been written by people we don’t know much about, so they aren’t ranking high with our automated recommendation software. This is entirely normal, and it affects all businesses on the site and all types of reviews, whether positive or negative.
  2. Some of these reviews may fit a pattern that is different from what we typically see. Our automated software is trained to detect these anomalies, and even though there may be a good explanation, the software sometimes errs on the side of caution.
  3. Our users write more positive reviews in the first place, so you would expect to see a higher proportion of them being both recommended. and not!

Why are different reviews recommended on different days?

Our recommendation software runs on a daily basis, so the results can change on a daily basis. You’ll sometimes see situations where a review is recommended or not recommended days, weeks, or even months after it is initially posted. For example, our recommendation software might pick up new information that makes a reviewer seem more trustworthy than was initially assumed. The reverse also happens. Sometimes, the information we have about a reviewer grows stale or is incomplete, so the software can take that into account too.

The important point here is that our recommendation software routinely produces different results on different days based on the information that feeds it.

How did my business information end up on Yelp?

We license basic business information from third party data providers who gather this type of information from public records and other sources. We also get business information from our users, who are helpful enough to correct the info we have, or let us know about a new spot that just opened down the street. Please feel free to let us know if our information is out of date!

Can I have my business listing information removed from Yelp?

Consumers have the right to talk about what they like (and don’t like) about a meal they ate, a plumber they hired, or a car wash they visited. We don’t remove business listings, so your best bet is to engage with your fans and critics alike, and hear what they have to say.

Will Yelp remove or reorder bad reviews if a business pays for advertising?

No. You can’t pay us to remove or reorder your bad reviews — it’s just that simple. It’s worth pointing out some additional checks and balances that we build into the system: among other things, our sales team doesn’t have the administrative privileges that might allow them to remove a bad review for an advertiser; similarly, the folks who do have those privileges don’t have anything to do with sales and aren’t compensated on the basis of sales performance.

Can reputation management companies help me with my reputation on Yelp?

There are many "reputation management" companies that claim to work with Yelp to remove your negative reviews or otherwise boost your ratings. for a fee (of course!). If you’re wondering how these companies can make good on this offer, the answer is simple: They can’t. There’s never been any amount of money one can pay — to Yelp or any third party — to manipulate reviews.

If you’ve been contacted by someone offering something along these lines, we’d love to get the details so we can prevent them from preying on others. Please contact us to send us the details.

Finally, as we’ve said in the past, the best strategy for reputation management is to provide great customer service, and respond diplomatically to your reviewers.

Does Yelp allow paid advertisers to move bad reviews to the bottom of their page?

Absolutely not. Review order cannot be manipulated and is determined by Yelp Sort, our default ranking methodology that presents the most useful reviews to users. For example, the first review displayed for a business will be one that reflects the average star rating of a business. This methodology is applied to all businesses, sponsors or not.

Where does Yelp get its “business attribute” information (e.g. how expensive the business is, whether it’s good for kids, and suggested attire)?

These subjective attributes are voted on by users who have reviewed the business. They can change over time as more people review the business and cast more votes. The more objective attributes that we show in the business listing (whether the business accepts credit cards or is wheelchair accessible) can be set by the business owner if he/she has signed up for a free Business Account .

How can I get my menu or price list displayed on my business page?

Yelp displays menus and price lists for businesses when we have the data. You can send us a copy of your current menu via the contact form. and we’ll make sure that it is updated. You can also contact our partners Locu or SinglePlatform which provide menu and price list data to Yelp.

How can I get a "People Love Us on Yelp" sticker?

"People Love Us on Yelp" is a program that provides a sticker and a letter of commendation from Yelp’s founders to businesses that qualify based on their history and rating on Yelp. The stickers are sent out twice a year to all businesses that qualify. Whether or not a business advertises on Yelp has no impact on their eligibility to receive a "People Love Us on Yelp" sticker.

If you have not yet been selected for this award, but would still like people to know you’re on Yelp, you can request a "Find Us on Yelp" sticker with this form .

I’m considering legal action — what are my rights?

Nobody likes to get a negative review, and it’s even worse if you think it violates your legal rights. But a good lawyer will tell you the truth: defamation suits are notoriously expensive and difficult to win. Worse, they are very public. We can point to countless examples of ill-advised lawsuits that hurt the business far more than it ever helped. Nor will you get far by bringing Yelp into the dispute since Yelp merely acts as a forum like any other where people can share their views. (The law is well settled on this point, but you are welcome to ask your neighborhood internet attorney to confirm.) There may be rare cases when it’s appropriate to take legal action, but in most cases, you won’t get what you are looking for by suing someone who gives you a bad review.


Category: Personal Finance

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