• cjvannette

    “The central dilemma here is how to protect the relevance and integrity
    of the reviews and the business profile, while allowing people to have a
    discussion or ‘dialog’ with the business owner and each other on
    matters that may be indirectly relevant.”

    Why is that Yelp’s dilemma? Do they care about providing a forum for users to “have a discussion” with a business owner? They’re not Twitter.

    My guess is, they care about providing reviews and ratings that reflect the actual customer experience, because that’s what most users expect from Yelp. Is this kind of information is relevant and helpful to their user base? Some people clearly care about business owners’ political views, but is that what they’re thinking about when they go to Yelp?

  • cjvannette

    Oh, and since I’m sure something similar happened with Chick-Fil-A, how did Yelp handle that?

  • http://twitter.com/ericward Eric Ward

    A great example of why YELPs (or frankly, almost all) user generated reviews cannot be a significant ranking signal. What happened here was a specific event sparked a flurry of comments, none of which had to do with the food itself. The reason this particular example became known to us is because it made National news. These reviews are just as useless as the millions of bogus reviews that are posted every day by review sweatshops. That said, my hunch is Mr. Van Duzer could care less. P.T. Barnum said “I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right”. So I’ll tweak it for the new millenium, as follows: “I don’t care what you say about my business, just get the URL right”. -LinkMoses

  • http://twitter.com/andrew_goodman Andrew Goodman

    It’s been years now — as someone involved in the journey to build a review site in a deeper, more expensive vertical (home renovations at HomeStars) — that we’ve noted the drawbacks of a site like Yelp. I love that Yelp is offering so much information and getting better and better. The community is great, warts and all. But compared with other kinds of mission-critical consumer purchase information, reviews of pizza joints, cafes, and nightclubs are a mile wide and an inch deep. And it’s much harder to accurately scale efforts to verify reviews — say, through spot-checks requiring reviewers to prove they’re an actual customer. (And BTW, Andy Beal’s new company – that geolocates hotel visitors by providing a device onsite to verify guest status… brilliant!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588188254 Jim Hodson

    I have to agree with Eric (I rarely disagree with him LOL)! Using UCG reviews as signals for ranking businesses on Google Places/G+ is VERY subject to manipulation. I think the same is true of using social signals to rank sites in “truly” organic results. Both are VERY spammable and subject to manipulation. And because of their newness, even more prone to manipulation than links.
    At least Google has years of experience detecting and dealing with spammed links of all sorts. They have automated much of it with filters like Penguin. More serious and less detectable offenses are still dealt with through manual actions (penalties and bans) by Googlers. But they have a lot of experience with and tools built to deal with link manipulation.
    Reviews from UCG sites as well as social signals from Twitter, Facebook, etc. are relatively new to search engines. As such there is very little infrastructure and process built for detecting and dealing with abuse like exists for link abuse.

  • http://twitter.com/TechAhead TechAhead

    I never though people would hate Obama so much and why do you have to hate the poor man’s pizza parlour just because he supports another party

  • http://twitter.com/reaglev reagle

    you should expect comments about politics when you use your business for politics

  • http://twitter.com/gsterling Greg Sterling

    The question here is what’s “relevant.” That’s a harder question to answer than it first appears. Yelp sees itself to some degree as a social CRM tool. Users clearly “talk to each other” about businesses on Yelp. These are existing parts of the Yelp “culture.”

  • cjvannette

    Exactly. Yelp needs to figure out if its users like political commentary in their business reviews, or if they consider it noise that distracts them from the information they really want. Although considering that they’re still not profitable, they probably have more important things to figure out …

  • alkalitta

    just do the right thing and kill the guy

  • Alex Murphy

    “Do they care about providing a forum for users to “have a discussion” with a business owner?”

    That’s why Google+ Local will eventually be the dominant local listing site, because it combines both local listings + reviews and the social layer of direct communication between the business and its customers, all from one page.

  • http://twitter.com/KenYPTalk Ken Clark

    Hello. What world are you living in?

  • http://twitter.com/BlueHatOfficial Blue Hat Marketing

    this is probably going to be an increasing problem as corporations are for some reason deciding to comment on political matters more than ever.