The Yelp platform, created in 2004 was to give users an opportunity to discover local establishments that provide goods and services to have a base for understanding the level of service that they provide to the community.
Fast Forward 14 years later – Yelp is now the #1 Trusted Directory Site on the Internet and in the top 10 of most visited Sites on the Web.
Apple has adopted Yelp delivering local data input to Siri and Apple Maps, Amazon has incorporated Yelp Data into Alexa, Yahoo and Bing use Yelp Data for their maps and local search information. Yelp is integrated into BMW, Land Rover, Lexus, Honda and many other vehicle infotainment systems.
This would not be possible without strict adherence to the goal of being the #1 Trusted Online Directory System on the Web.
Through this process, Yelp insists on delivering the MOST accurate and credible information to its 130 Million unique users a month that trust the information in their decision making process.
Over the years there has been many claims of Extortion, there was a Federal Investigation where Yelp was required to hand over 2 years of data, phone records, transcripts and information and in the end was found to be in compliance and in the clear with no charges being brought to the company.
The Filtering Algorithm is unique, VAST, and computerized – no human interaction is involved in the Filtering Process. What most business owners do not understand is how Yelp bases their Reviews. When Reviewers are not active on Yelp, have no “Friends” and only publish 1 or 3 Reviews, the system does not find them being a high quality source for data. This is why Reviewers with More Reviews have their comments rank higher on a profile page.
During the Flagging process, (Which Any business owner can do through the Yelp Biz App) a team of humans look at each and every situation and determines if the review is in compliance for Yelp’s Term of Service.
To truly understand the mindset of a business owner, we must understand that anyone who has an awesome experience and shows gratitude of course is going to be asked to describe their experience.
No one is going to ask someone to describe a negative experience online, people will only want to highlight and encourage success. This is the main reason why Yelp discourages specific reviews for their platform. By only highlighting Positive, it gives a false sense of the Service or Goods that is delivered by an organization.
If there was no review filtering system in place – it would be okay for people to create a couple hundred accounts and simply talk about how amazing they are and in a sense “Cheat the System”. This process still happens daily and business owners will have friends and family and online bloggers write Fake Reviews for a Fee. This is why Amazon restructured their review platform to maintain Authenticity.
Supply and Demand – There is an obvious demand for Feedback from others about their experience, the Film and Television, Hotel, and Restaurant Industries have been using this system for decades. Yelp is working hard every day to ensure that their message is pure and consistent – to deliver the Most Trusted Outlet for Reviews on Earth. This is why so many companies have partnered with Yelp and continue to use the platform directly into their products.
Also this is why Yelp has transcended Real Life and is in the World of Fiction, being used as Reference in many Television Shows, Movies and Adult Cartoon Shows. Yelp understands the pain points they are experiencing and will hold true to deliver the best content available to its 130 Million Clients who use the platform monthly in their decision making process.
The Filtering system is to keep the playing field fair and unbiased, because people do want to have the best experience possible, that is why on Amazon, 2-3 Star products do not generate the same level of revenue and profit flow as a 5 Star Product.
Consumers are now quite savvy when it comes to online shopping and know how to navigate the process effectively. The craziest statistic is in 5 years we will have a generation of consumers who have been raised with and lived their whole lives with the Internet, Social Media and Amazon.
[ Ralph Carrasco is a Yelp Expert and a Certified Yelp Partner Agent at Carrasco Consulting, where he helps organizations take control of their online presence. Follow him on Instagram, and read his thoughts on Facebook. ]