What timing! Our good friend and mascot SEOdog just finished a post on why it’s a bad idea to astroturf reviews on local business listings, yellow pages, and review sites. Then Yelp! announced that it is going to be more transparent about company reviews.
A couple interesting things here, but the one I want to talk about is that it will now show ALL reviews it has for a business. But why should you care?
Well, Matt McGee did a rundown at SearchEngineLand and here’s the money part for purposes of this post:
The second change that Yelp’s making in response to the lawsuits is to show all the reviews it has about a business, including the ones that its algorithm has filtered/removed from the business profile pages. But the link to see the full set of reviews is buried at the bottom of the business page.
Says CEO Jeremy Stoppelman about these changes:
Lifting the veil on our review filter and doing away with “Favorite Review” will make it even clearer that displayed reviews on Yelp are completely independent of advertising — or any sort of manipulation.
What type of reviews have they been filtering out automatically with their algorithm? Among others, negative reviews by competitors and astroturfed positive reviews by business owners. Frankly, that’s the best case scenario – that they’re just filtering them out. What unscrupulous business owners need to be scared of is that those are not just being filtered out, but rather that the various review sites and local business listings are penalizing those companies for their actions.
Bottom line for small businesses and local business owners? Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it – for more than just the reasons written about here and by SEODog.