I’ll tell you, I’m not afraid to criticise Yelp for their difficulties concerning how their salespeople behave, but it looks like the changes they’ve announced today are going to go a long way towards helping Yelp in the long run. See the changes below.
CEO Jeremy Stoppelman didn’t come off whiny during today’s news conference so that might come as a bit of a surprise to those whose only exposure to him are his blog entries.
I question what the salespeople will have to sell now, but we’ll see how that goes. I’m sure some of them will still go rogue but it will be harder for them to do that now.
Happy days are here again:
Yesterday’s changes will allow us to see the reviews that aren’t worthy enough to make the main page of any particular entry, so Yelp can say that it’s transparent.
Check out Mermaid tours as an example. It’s not exactly clear why they’re suing Yelp, there’s something in there about an unstated cancellation policy* and a back and forth between the manager and/or and a former customer. (If this biz. is the lead plaintiff in somebody’s class action, well, the lawyers suing Yelp should look harder…)
Anyway, Yelp is trying to fix things, so
Hip hip hooray,
Hip hip hooray,
Hip hip hooray.
All the deets after the jump.
*This kind of excuse is called “frustration of purpose.”
Yelp Provides More Transparency Around Review Filter to Dispel Myths
All Reviews Identified By Automated Filter Now Accessible On Yelp “Business’ Favorite Review” Advertising Product No Longer Offered
SAN FRANCISCO, April 6 /PRNewswire/ — Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/), the community-led local search site, today outlined steps it is taking to increase transparency across the site to dispel myths around how user reviews are presented to consumers. Beginning today, anyone who wants to see which reviews have been identified by Yelp’s automated review filter will be able to do so via a link to a separate page containing that content. The company has also eliminated the “Favorite Review” feature that has been a part of its advertising product for the past four years.
“Today we’ve taken steps to make it even more clear that Yelp treats review content equally for advertisers and non-advertisers alike and that there is no relationship between advertising and a business’ reviews on Yelp,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s chief executive officer and co-founder. “While Yelp is helping millions of consumers find millions of great local businesses each month — and consumer traffic and business advertisers continue to reach new highs — myths have persisted about how review content is displayed on Yelp.”
The company believes today’s move to make its automated review filter even more transparent will not only demonstrate its even-handed treatment of review content but also highlight the challenge Yelp and other user review websites face to prevent gaming of the system by businesses. Yelp continues to work on ways to fight fake or malicious reviews and will continue to evolve the review filter to keep ahead of egregious spammers.
Additionally Yelp will no longer feature advertiser’s “Favorite Review” at the top of the business’s review listings which was one of the features of the advertising package. The removal of this feature will make it that much more clear that reviews on Yelp are completely separate from advertising. The company plans to add a video functionality to its current suite of advertising products, a suggestion borne from Yelp’s ongoing series of educational meetings with business owners across the country.
Over the past 18 months, Yelp has taken numerous steps to educate business owners on how to set up a free business owner account (yelp.com/business) to leverage tools such as the ability to publicly comment on reviews, privately message reviewers and post special offers or sales. Yelp also plans to evolve its regular meetings with business owners into a formal advisory council of select business owners that will meet with Yelp on a regular basis to discuss product development.
Yelp will be hosting a conference call on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 10am PDT related to today’s announcements. The conference call will include an overview by management as well as the opportunity to ask questions. Members of the press who would like to participate should email firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the call.
About Yelp! Inc.
Yelp (www.yelp.com) is a website that connects people with great local businesses. Yelp was founded in San Francisco in July 2004. Since then, Yelp communities have taken root in major metros across the US, Canada, UK and Ireland; Yelp drew an audience of more than 31 million unique visitors in March 2010. Yelpers have written more than 10 million local reviews, making Yelp the leading US local guide for real word-of-mouth on everything from boutiques and mechanics to restaurants and dentists
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