Online Reputation Management

Why Does Yelp Not Suggest Certain Review?

The algorithm used by Yelp is designed in a way that it voluntarily filters out some reviews, mainly the ones that are flagged because they are thought to be biased, fake, or unhelpful. Some of the reviews are sidelined only because either the reviewer is immature, does not take Yelp’s users’ taste into account, or some other reasons that may involve the users’ experience at Yelp. According to Yelp’s estimates, nearly 25% of all the user reviews are put aside.

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There exists a substantial margin if we look at the averages. Data showed that the top 10 of the 66 scanned reviews were authored by users with at least 20 friends at Yelp, while 7 of those 10 had 35 friends on average. Social media influencers wrote a large proportion of the suggested reviews. A couple of cases showed that the average rating for visible reviews was more than the filtered reviews. The ratings were equal in one case, while two scanned reviews showed that the mean score was more than the visible review score.

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In case your reviews do not come under Yelp’s recommendations, you must keep in mind that this is only because of Yelp’s algorithms and not because of your profile or your written material. It would help if you did not worry about the filter patterns at Yelp after spending serious time writing your review. However, if you necessarily want to cater some extra ratings, you ought to follow the criteria mentioned above because this will definitely increase your reviews’ recommendation chances.

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It is evident that you want your review to be recommended at the top of your chosen category. And you can make that happen, but the chances are limited. It is because Yelp wants to keep secret the functional recipe of its algorithms. If anyone knew its working, it would have been cracked by now. This can also be seen as a failure of Yelp’s algorithms to cater to newcomers and outsiders. Unfortunately, there is no way to steer Yelp’s automatic filters. No one can request Yelp to shift his reviews out of the not recommended category by looking at them consciously. This is due to the fair, unbiased and neutral policy adopted by Yelp; there is no concept of Royal Treatment. This way, the corporate firms cannot pay to enlist specific reviews in the recommended category and remove unwanted reviews.

The over-enthusiastic filters may sometimes do more harm than good. The spontaneous filters – which are basically designed to create a neutral environment and avoid manipulations, may miss rather good reviews. It’s a two-way game; on the one hand, the filters provide a level playing field, while on the other, they might sideline more legitimate reviews. However, we are mentioning some of the tricks you can use to increase your reviews’ chances to be recommended. It is totally up to you to consider using them. Other options are available in case Yelp is not considering your reviews. These include thorough profile details, broadening your friend list, and some other tricks as well. But this may prove unnecessary when it comes to privacy issues.

Yelp’s algorithms are automated for filtering the reviews, but the accuracy is not 100%. In case you frequently visit Yelp to gather good Business reviews, you would have noticed that some are good while others are worse. Depending on the Yelp users’ profile details, the order of the reviews authored for your business may also change frequently.

Rather than contending yourself with negative reviews, you can take a shot at making your business function actively on Yelp.

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Some Of The Most Common Factors For The Filtration Of Certain Reviews

  • The review lacks genuineness if it is either too positive or too negative.

  • The review is fake in nature as most of them are published from a specific IP address.

  • If a friend writes the review of the business owner, it would be considered a biased one.

  • The review is original in nature, but the writer is new on Yelp, so it is not recommended.

  • Other reasons could be: number of friends of the writer, profile detail, published reviews, number of published pictures, and the rating received by the review.

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The location from where a review is published is known to Yelp, whether submitted via mobile or a Personal Computer. If a review is submitted from a business location, it will be filtered out. In order to resolve this problem, you can initiate an email to your customer after some days of their visit, get your feedback, and request them to write you a review if they felt good.

If a person has published only one review, other users at Yelp might flag it if it is too positive or too negative. It is because a single review with an overwhelming response gets reported at Yelp. Mostly, the single-reviewers are biased or motivated for specific reasons. They might be friends or family members of the business owner and would have joined Yelp to exaggerate their rating. Or, the case could be in the opposite direction as well. To avoid getting flagged, write more and more reviews.

But there is a very complex case to understand as well. Some users are called the Power Users. While most of the individuals using Yelp rarely write a review and mostly use the service to know the feedback given by other users. A small group of hyper-users write a lot of reviews and therefore dominate the site.

A special slot for the elites is reserved at Yelp. They are called the Yelp Elite Squad. They are considered the best among all by Yelp users. This designation is assigned due to their frequent use of Yelp services, genuine reviews and high-quality pictures, their well-informed and detailed page, and their know-how of the city they live in. Nominations are frequently received for becoming such a member. Anyone can nominate anyone. If accepted, you will receive a special badge on your profile and some other benefits that also include Elite party invitations in your city. Despite getting the Elite badge, the reviews written by Elites are not given more prestige over reviews written by other reviewers. Only Elite reviews can be included in your searches, as they are clearly marked different, but these reviews also receive the same rating in stars as any other user.

The raw data present a very complex story. Only a handful of reviews with a significant number of photos are filtered in searches. Among all the 66 filtered reviews, the top five reviews had 26, 21, 6, 5, and 2 images, respectively. The fall in the number of pictures is tremendous. Of all the submitted reviews, 94% of them contained two or less than two photos. As far as the other insignificant variables are concerned, you might get crazy. For example, a business received 33 reviews. When I looked at the photos submitted by the users at Yelp, I came to know that most of the reviewers had posted no pictures or very few photos, but a reviewer had submitted 9,452 photos in his review. This depicts the absurdity of the graph indicating each reviewers photo count (be mindful of the fact that the graph tops at 1,000 photos).

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Reviews are important – to such an extent, a significant number of books are available for businesses that struggle to cater to positive reviews. Nearly 30 million businesses are dependent on Yelp and other feedback sites for enhancing their number of customers – this clearly depicts the importance of Yelp. While Yelp claims the democratic nature of its site, they don’t consider the fact that a negative review can end someone’s business, no matter the review is based on truth or not. This mostly happens when a business is new and does not contain a sufficient number of positive reviews to outnumber the negative ones. Even a single star in a review can keep people away from that business. This is why some business owners allocate special time each day to cater to negative reviews, get feedback, and try convincing the reviewers that they have modified what bothered the customers. Businesses might face severe consequences if they do not effectively and timely answer the negative reviews.

Negative reviews are like nightmares for business owners. That is why they go after each one of them. Just look at a case of a San Francisco-based chiropractor called the Advanced Chiropractic Center. Once a man named Christopher Norberg gave it one star due to a billing issue with chiropractor Steven Biegel. The chiropractor sued Norberg for defamation. The matter was ultimately settled outside the court. But the case of Norberg is not the only one where a customer was sued due to the review given on Yelp. A New York-based dentist named Dr. NimaDayani filed a defamation case against four patients as they had given negative reviews about his services. A Florida-based moving company sought damages of over $15,000 against a customer for defamation. A Texas-based pet sitting company filed a case against a couple for their negative review. Yelp took decisive action against businesses that sued their customers. Citing freedom of expression as the main reason, businesses that sue their customers are now marked differently.

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Things Yelp Wants To Keep Secret

Did you notice that sometimes the top search outcomes at Yelp contain the word “ad” with them? These are the advertisements from the businesses who pay Yelp to get themselves featured at the top of the list in their desired categories. So, next time be careful when you click on some business. The advertised businesses can potentially get your attention despite the fact that there are much better options available. This must not be a surprise, as we all know; Yelp is a corporate firm aiming to make as much wealth as possible. But this is not the only way Yelp makes money. There are rumors that Yelp employees approached businesses with an offer to delete the negative reviews in exchange for an “advertising fee.” Yelp completely denies such allegations. However, if this practice is really carried out, it is worrisome. This act makes new businesses vulnerable and raises moral questions on the professionalism of the site. Even if this is true, Yelp would never allow its users to know it. This is not a thing to get surprised at, as Yelp, just like other review sites, is also prone to giant firms using the money to get the reviews they want. In a Harvard Business School search, almost 16 percent of all reviews at Yelp are dubious. The majority of these suspicious reviews are due to the business owners using the money to gather positive reviews from individuals who use the Craigslist website. But there could also be fake negative reviews from people who do not want their opponents to progress.

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Yelp Legalizes Its User Review Filter

Yelp has been brought to justice numerous times. It has been sued for intentionally misleading the customers about the quality and genuineness of the reviews. Business owners say that Yelp uses forceful means to pressure them to acquire maximum advertisements. Moreover, there are numerous websites by unknown people to manipulate the Yelp review system. But, despite all the cases, Yelp still stands victorious and is getting stronger over time. In 2014, the Federal Trade Commission was not interested in taking action against Yelp even after getting 2,046 complaints against it. Even today, there are hundreds of complaints filed against Yelp.

According to a law passed by Congress in 1996, 47 USC 230 (Section 230), Yelp is not legally responsible for the reviews posted on its site, even if the genuineness of the reviews is dubious. The same law states that Yelp cannot be held accountable for sideling questionable reviews, no matter what the filters do.

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Why Does The Reviews Status Continue Changing From “Recommended” To “Not Currently Recommended” And The Other Way Around?

Filters used at Yelp are never perfect. Yelp issued a detailed note mentioning the possible reasons behind the filters labeling reviews as ‘not recommended.’

Many reviews were not accessible for months or even years, but they suddenly appear out of nowhere. According to the present data, it can be concluded that the reviews posted by users were less in number, but as soon as more reviews were published, the previous ones surfaced.

It could also be the case that the person has published only one review. If a person has written only one review and it is either too positive or too negative, it will likely get flagged. Why? It is because if an individual has only one activity and nothing else notable, the review is not neutral. The person could be a relative of the business owner and just singed up at Yelp to enhance their score. Or the case could be the opposite as well. Write as many reviews as possible to avoid getting flagged!

Yelp condones no fake reviews; however, it initiated a Consumer Alert program to pinpoint the businesses involved in this act. The recognition software used by Yelp is automated to cater to fake reviews on a priority basis. But despite the strenuous efforts, deleting all the fake and dubious reviews is not possible. So, some of the fakes will stay, no matter what Yelp wants.

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What If Your Review Is Not Visible At Yelp?

Some of the data showed that the comparative percentage of the filtered versus the visible reviews that contained the profile image was 45% by 71%, respectively. So it can be quickly concluded that a profile image has a significant impact on the reviews’ recommendation.

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Got Your Review Disappeared? The Reason And The Solution

No strategy is present to avoid a review from getting ‘not recommended’ status, but some tricks can be used to minimize the chances of getting scanned out. Some of the simple methods to deal with this problem are listed below:

The chances are that the search algorithms deployed at Yelp engage those businesses more often that actively respond to the reviews left on their profile; answering the reviews, and dealing with them professionally and sincerely; which depicts that your customer feedback is crucial for you and that you are concerned about the experience of your consumers.

Engage with the reviews by either commenting on them publicly or sending a direct message to the customer. You can add your customers as friends, comment on their published reviews, follow their activities, and tag their feedback as Funny, Informative, Useful, or Cool.

In case you actively deal with Yelp users and develop your Yelp customer network, you will automatically receive reviews from active Yelp users, especially the ones that have detailed profiles and links of other social accounts, whose reviews are not one-sided, and who also have a strong friends’ list at Yelp.

Though Yelp admits that the reviews might get ‘not recommended’ status due to the reviewer’s passive engagement at Yelp, there are still so many doubts. This is something serious because the recommendation process’s dubious nature can make Yelp simply get away from its biased or immoral behavior.

Yelp has become an inevitable site for firms and businesses of every type. If managed well, your business will prosper on this review website and gather more customers in real.

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How to view filtered Yelp reviews?

The Business Will Gain More Revenue If It Has A High Rating On Yelp

The studies suggest that the increase in the Yelp rating of any company has a very significant impact on the sales of that company. The research by the Harvard Business School suggests that only a one-star rise in the rating of any company influences the net revenue by around 5 to 9 percent.

The research conducted by UC Berkeley suggests that half star increase in the rating has influenced the businesses to 19 percent, which means that if it were a restaurant, it would get all its seats filled up during the peak time.

So, the star is not merely a 'vanity metric'; rather, it has actual influence and direct impact on sales.

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