Recently, a friend re-posted a Yelp! review of a moving company on Facebook. It was an awful review. The moving company took two months to move this guy across the country, broke his stuff, and also gave him someone else’s skateboard. Sure, that makes sense. I’m not planning a move any time soon, but the bit I read on Facebook sounded horrible, and I wanted to know more, so I clicked on the Yelp! link to read more. Needless to say I was a bit surprised to discover that this particular moving company (Oh, if you’re interested, it’s VIP Express Movers of Bound Brook, NJ) had a 4 out of 5 star rating on Yelp! Further, of the seven reviews on the one out of one pages, only one was bad. Almost all the others were four or five stars. Oh, but then I noticed something.
I noticed that there was a heading at the top of the page. It said, “Recommended Reviews.” Recommended Reviews? Recommended by whom? VIP Movers? Yeah, I’ll bet these are the reviews they’re recommending. Over on the left side was a link to – I kid you not – 13 – 13 more non-recommended reviews. I clicked on that link. There were 13 more reviews. None of them good. When I say none of them good, these were all 1-star reviews – as in WHATEVER YOU DO DON’T USE THIS COMPANY! Now, if those 13 1-star reviews had been averaged in with the 7 other reviews, the overall rating would NOT be 4 out of 5 stars. Not remotely. It would be closer to 2.1. But the not-recommended reviews aren’t even being figured in.
Really Yelp!? Your site is supposed to be a place where people can honestly post reviews and consumers can then go and make choices based on other people’s experiences. Now you’ve just turned it into another commercial. So, um, I’m over you. We’re done. I’m breaking up with you. If you’d rather go out with the businesses, fine. You do that. But you can’t two-time me.
I belong to Angie’s List. Yes, I have to pay for that service, but at least I know Angie isn’t going to cheat on me. For restaurants, I still trust Urban Spoon. Did you think I wasn’t smart enough to figure out that some people write bad reviews because they’re just crabby people who are never happy? I’m smart enough to figure out there are outliers. And that’s why you average the scores. But when there are 13 – THIRTEEN – bad reviews and you choose to highlight the six good reviews, well, then, that just makes you a liar.
So I’m spreading the word. And I’m asking my readers to spread the word, too. Let people know what Yelp! is doing. Yelp! is no longer to be trusted. Oh- but good news, Yelp! — perhaps you can run for Congress!
That’s all I’ve got. That’s my mite.
Update: Note well, yelp! apparently uses an algorithm to weed out what are supposed to be fake reviews. How then, are all the bad moving company reviews hidden? Perhaps because the algorithm relies in part on IP addresses, and once you’ve moved, you’re going to be using a new IP address (I’m hypothesizing here) and that might trigger the algorithm. Yelp! needs to do better. Here’s an article about that: http://www.webpronews.com/people-claiming-to-be-ex-yelp-employees-discuss-review-filter-blackmail-2013-09