I’ve been discussing the issue of online reviews, and in particular YELP in several articles this year, such as “no Sheriff in the Wild Wild ‘Net” and more recently about a class action lawsuit against YELP.
YELP’s CEO has responded to the lawsuit with his blog post. It does provide YELP’s perspective and emphasizes that the quality and fairness of the reviews is how they’ve built a large user base. Jeopardizing the integrity of that, he states, would negatively impact the company.
While that may be right, or may have been right before gaining 29 million users, he doesn’t address anything at all about their income and business model, other than referencing “no businesses that advertise on YELP have a perfect reputation”.
But, isn’t that where the issues lies? I suspect those businesses didn’t start off advertising when there were few users and great reviews. I believe the majority of those businesses advertised to get a more favorable review up top above a negative review…that seems to have only occurred after turning down an Ad deal from a YELP sales person.
Of course, I’m only speculating based on the range of multi-page articles I’ve read, several by investigative reporters. I could, of course, be as wrong as the YELP CEO contends all of these reports are wrong.