Terry Thomas’ guest column, “What is Yelp? An impartial review site or an aggressive ad company?” [Opinion, Jan. 16] puts into words the exact experience that our business has gone through with the online review website.
Start with extremely positive reviews from customers and colleagues, written in long thoughtful paragraphs with five stars. Next, a phone call from a Yelp representative asking if we would be interested in Yelp marketing options. We politely declined, as our type of business doesn’t lend itself to online advertising.
Now, within the last year we have seen brand new multi-paragraph reviews with five stars relegated to the “filtered/not recommended” reviews, not easily observable to a non-savvy Yelp user, and also not used in the calculation of average Yelp star ratings for our business. What’s left on our front page reviews are old reviews, and two one-star reviews that are a sentence long, obviously hastily written with misspellings and no punctuation.
I’ve heard the phrase “play the game my way or don’t play at all.” Well, I would gladly remove myself from Yelp completely, but somehow that is never given as an option.
Extortion? I would say so.
Nete Olsen, Seattle