Yelp is one of the more interesting Internet stories there is in the market today. All at once revered and hated it is an important piece of the SMB and more directly, local Internet marketing landscape.
Yelp’s review filter is one area that gets a lot of attention. In this video, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman tells Yelps’ side of the story (hat tip to Greg Sterling). Ironically the video is on YouTube which is a Google property which is supposed to be Yelp’s arch enemy in the local space. That is unless of course hosting the video elsewhere wouldn’t get as many views, right?
So this is a nice point of view of the filter and the wonders it does. On the other hand, it’s quite easy for one to discover the dark side of Yelp and some of the supposed abuses it dishes out to business owners.
In a moment of “Why not?”, a search for something that was about Yelp’s gripes with Google (the search term being “yelp complains about Google”) uncovers the not so pleasant part of the equation at the not-so-flattering URL of http://yelp-sucks.com/tell-your-yelp-story/. You can guess what the 290+ comments there are like. Are they all legit? No idea. On the other hand, is everything Yelp says legit? No idea.
A question to ask is whether it helps to put out videos like the one from Stoppelman to combat something that is a reputation issue when no one expects Yelp to say anything but positive stuff about its own review filter? It would look very different if Stoppelman said in his video that we realize that the filter is causing many people pain and that actual positive reviews may be getting filtered out of the results and we are working to improve that situation. No such mention, though.
So, as a result, this is just another piece of corporate propaganda and more of a content marketing play than an actual help. Let’s face it, Stoppelman’s ‘suggestions’ aren’t earth-shattering or anything we haven’t heard before.
So what’s your take on efforts like this whether it is from Yelp or anyone else? Does the one sided nature of a situation work anymore without creating cynicism and sarcasm from the likes of, well, people like us?
What’s your take?