Does Yelp really help?

Let’s face it, social networking has the power to build or break your business.

Yelp, for example, started out as what seemed like an excellent tool to help build business. As a review sight, it allows patrons to search and review anything in a specific area from dry cleaners, to hair salons and restaurants. Sounds like a reliable source to trust, right? …Wrong

As an avid online shopper, I can surely say that online reviews impact my purchasing decisions greatly. And to be honest, I’m most likely to read the first page of reviews, and make my decision accordingly. Well, that’s all fine and dandy in my world as a shopper, but in my reality as a hairstylist, I have seen this to be devastating to many.

Unfortunately, what most people don’t realize, is that Yelp does not post reviews written in real time. It picks and chooses what will be posted, and what will be filtered out into the “not recommended” reviews.

All your recent reviews for your business might be 5 star, positive reviews, but when you go to check out your business’ yelp page, I guarantee that is not what you will see.

Negative, low star reviews will pop up at the top of your page dated years back. Meanwhile, your client will come and tell you about the lovely raving review she wrote last night, and it will be nowhere to be found. So,while you are scanning reviews of your local business’ on yelp, beware, Yelp may not be giving you the best advice.

For small business’, Yelp is not an option you can ignore, it’s a necessity that you must learn to carefully navigate. Many people have learned this the hard way. Business’ with a few bad reviews become desperate, because they know this could be the demise of all their hard work. The way that yelp filters their reviews, leaves business’ cheated out of their positive reviews, leaving the negative ones front and center.

So who are these late-night, essay writing, Yelping crazies who jump at the chance to write reviews, that detail every aspect of their experience at a yogurt stand? These are the Yelpers, that can ruin lives. No matter how hard you try, there are always going to be those people who you simply cannot please. The one’s who are not leading their lives seeking happiness, but whom are looking for a bad experience so they can run home and yelp. For perpetual yelp reviewers who feel they have experienced bad service, Yelp is like calling 911. They write in reviews like trauma narratives, seeking solace in the community of other fellow yelpers. Some will even go as far as holding a business hostage, demanding to be given a refund, or they will write a bad review.

There is something to be said for those who are writing reviews at 3 A.M. Prospective consumers, go on to read drunken rants, that spew false information into unsuspecting business owners clean 5 star review page, and BAM! Suddenly your 5 star review is 3.5, and now people scroll past your page, not even giving it a chance.

Personally, I have know fellow hairstylists who have cried, gotten depressed and even quit their job, over single bad reviews. We have no control over those who write fake reviews, or those who have simply not taken their medication that day, and have decided to take out their anger on you.

What is the solution? Don’t filter the reviews. Let them come in, and post in real time, newest post first. Doing this will give both business’ and consumers the opportunity to see an establishment in a more balanced and accurate light. The good and the bad put out there in the order in which it occurred. Yelp knows, that if business’ review pages are balanced, they will have no need to advertise. That my friends is why Yelp continues to do business the way that is does. They want to make sure to give their advertising dollar value. Savvy and smart, for Yelp, it’s all about the benjamins baby. – Fame

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