Posted April 24, 2009 1:01 pm by with 4 comments

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As previously reported, Yelp has launched a system to allow business owners to address reviews left by their customers.

The new system will finally ease the frustration of businesses not being able to share their side of the story–especially when facing a very negative review. The system will look like this:

Now, before you rub your hands together in delight, Yelp’s well aware of just how over-bearing business owners can be, so it’s going to be very strict in what it will and won’t allow business owners to post. Here are the guidelines for business owners planning to respond:

Public Comment Guidelines

Use public comments to:

* Tell the community what you’ve done to address a specific concern raised by a reviewer.
* Provide correct information when a review contains something inaccurate or out-of-date.
* Provide your version of a difficult situation when you’re unable to resolve a dispute through private messaging. Remember to be polite and stick to facts since your comments are public and can be seen by potential customers.

Please don’t use public comments to:

* Make personal attacks. Avoid name calling or belittling your reviewer. Even if the original review was offensive, customers expect you to take the high road.
* Advertise. This is not the place for promoting unrelated offerings or events. If you want to share some general information with your customers, post an Announcement instead.
* Offer incentives. Don’t offer gifts or other incentives in exchange for a more favorable review. Even if it’s well-intentioned, it can be perceived as dishonest.
* Thank a user for their review. Sending a Private Message is a more appropriate for a simple thank-you.

You might also want to take a look at my previous advice for responding to customer reviews of your business.


  • blogorama

    “Yelp’s well aware of just how over-bearing business owners can be.”

    Well, it certainly is getting its butt kicked by the business community! I guess that’s what you meant. But the fact that it reluctantly enabled this feature is not going to save yelp. They claim they are going to strictly censor what business owners say, but if they had simply taken some level of responsibility for doing just that with its own reviewers, this feature would not have been necessary.

    Now yelp needs to give business owners the option to opt out of its corrupt website altogether.

  • Carrie Shaker

    Businesses should absolutely be able to opt out of Yelp. Why should Yelp have the right to defame your good business name, or apply it’s own misguided rules on how to manage legitimate and not reviews.

    Yelp’s business model is completely broken. A sensible person needs to leave Yelp and find better ways to determine the best businesses to support.

  • yale

    For a small business, giving money to Jeremy Stoppelman and Yelp is like handing a butcher knife to a serial killer.
    Yelp needs to verify their reviews. Which is to say that the site needs to actually become trustworthy by being responsible, instead of simply calling themselves trustworthy and expecting people to believe them. They need to be diligent and REMOVE false reviews, either positive or negative, when those reviews are brought to their attention. They need to reinstate credible reviews by actual people, even if those people aren’t doing what Yelp wants by spending all their free time on the site, filling it with free content. Short of this, there is no reason for Yelp to exist.

  • I think this is important because many of these review sites often times have enough power to really put a dent in a businesses incoming revenue. Awful if it is an isolated incident that occurred.

    Nick Stamoulis’s last blog post..Are Geographic Keywords For Local Businesses Still Necessary?