Why I have a love/hate relationship with the local review site Yelp*.
Although it is the first place I personally go when in need of a restuarant suggestion or any range of services (from dog-grooming to car maintenance), from a business-owner’s perspective, Yelp irks me a little…
When we first opened up shop, I believed Yelp’s recommendations about gaining reviews (and let’s face it, the reviews are the sole criteria Yelp users look at when deciding which business to try out). Yelp said to never solicit reviews, and instead they coached us to just let them accrue “organically” by simply being the great business that we think we are. They promised that this was the way to attain numerous, trust-worthy reviews.
Years later — after following their advice — the passage of time has certainly allowed our number of reviews to add up. The problem? Thanks to Yelp’s freakin’ filter-algorithm, 17 out of our 21 reviews are currently hidden.
On the one hand, the filter-algorithm is the reason why Yelp is still around when so many other review sites have come, failed and gone. By pulling any reviews that even smell of trickery (whether it be overly positive or negative), the site has remained trust-worthy while others have been corrupted. As business owners adjust to this, and become more tech-savvy, their attempts to manipulate the filter-bot continue, which forces Yelp’s program-writers to constantly tweak the algorithm to make it increasingly difficult to have illegimate reviews posted. (Ummm, not that I’ve tried or anything…)
The filter-algorithm takes into account a scary amount of information in order to determine a review’s authenticy. IP address, the number of Yelp friends an account has, the number of reviews an account has posted, grammar patterns, and even hot you look in your user-profile pic. (Just kidding about the profile picture. I hope.)?
On the other hand, because it is a computer program and not an actual person (that would just be ridiculous to even attempt) scanning each review for validity, it is vulnerable to mistakes. (Again, witness our percentage of hidden reviews!) For a prosepective patient, we would look much more appealing with 21 five-star reviews, versus the measly 4 five-star reviews currently shown.
As I was perusing our Yelp account today, and checking-out the hidden reviews, some of the patients had such nice things to say about us that I found myself smiling with both pride and gratitude. (It’s not cocky for me to say this, because I don’t actually do any of the treatments. However, it definitely made me, the lowly blog-author, proud of our staff’s accomplishments.)?
To that end, I decided that even though Yelp was filtering the majority of our reviews, there was nothing preventing me from taking screen-shots and sharing them elsewhere.
IF you were curious about what some of our wonderful patients have to say about their care at About Face Skin Care, feast your eyes on the following:
*And the rumors about Yelp paid-advertising bumping your reviews back and forth from the filtered page? Totally false. We have advertised and not advertised, and during the times we were advertising on Yelp, we had both huge and little packages. There was never a smidge of review adjustment through any of it, and the amount of money they were getting us had zero correlation with the filter-algorithm’s actions.