Yelp Explains The Recommended Review Process

    November 13, 2013
    Chris Crum
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Yelp is trying to educate users more about how its review recommendations work. As the company acknowledges, most people probably don’t really even think about it, but others certainly wonder how they come up the ones that they do.

“Well, for starters, imagine you were trying to find a great new restaurant in town way back before Yelp existed,” says Vince Sollitto, Yelp’s VP Communications & Public Affairs. “You’d probably try to get as many word-of-mouth recommendations as possible. Then you’d sift through them, deciding how to value each one. You would probably place more weight on recommendations from people in the know who have tried every place in town, and from people whose tastes you share, than on recommendations from folks who rarely go out to eat, who seem like they might be too close to the owner to be unbiased, or who you’ve just met and don’t know much about.”

“In a nutshell, that’s how Yelp works,” he continues. “Every day our automated software goes through the more than 47 million reviews that have been submitted to Yelp to select the most useful and reliable ones to help you find the business that’s right for you. Unlike many other sites, our stance is quality over quantity when it comes to reviews. As a result, we only recommend about three-quarters of the reviews we get. More often than not, these reviews come from active members of the Yelp community, and from those we’ve come to know and trust.”

He notes that reviews that aren’t recommended appear in the link on the bottom of the business’ profile page, and don’t factor into the business’ overall star rating or review count.

Yelp says it doesn’t recommend reviews when it doesn’t know much about the user, or thinks that they could be biased or fake.

Here’s a new ideo Yelp has put together to illustrate the process.

I probably don’t have to tell you that Yelp is often criticized over fake reviews, and has been accused of holding reviews “hostage”.

CEO Jeremy Stoppelman did a reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) last week to address these things and more. Here are some highlights.

  • http://www.yelpclassaction.info Yelp Class Action

    Jeremy, you lie. We have a tape of your salesman telling a merchant that as he is in the midst of a sales presentation that he will make the merchant’s listing “go live.” Thereafter, his negatives disappeared and his positives and his star rating increased. Smoking gun, right?

    If you are a harmed business by Yelp’s extortion then you can join the lawsuit we are preparing against them. http://www.YelpLawSuit.com

  • AK

    I posted a negative review on a yelp page and got a response from the business. A few days later, my review ended up in the “not recommended” section. I did not know this even existed and when I clicked on it, there were 20 other negative reviews that had been hidden. I’m convinced that this company has paid yelp to get their negative listings filed under “not recommended,” seeing as I’ve been monitoring their page and all of their 1-star reviews keep popping into “not recommended” so that they always have a 4-star rating.