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Erica Douglass

"If you have friends who own businesses, do them a favor and give them a review and ask them to do the same for you."

Careful--I know a local business owner who did this and she got banned from Yelp. The other biz owners were her clients, too. Yelp doesn't have good support (perfect for a Google acquisition...they pretty much ignore complaints) and will ban you without recourse.

-Erica

Dave Lakhani

Erica -

It is always good to err on the side of caution but YELP doesn't specifically disallow it. This is from their website for business owners.

While we understand that there is a temptation to solicit reviews from your customers, it is not something we encourage. The most successful businesses on Yelp have had their reviews come organically. This is for a couple of reasons:

1. Potential customers can sometimes have an adverse reaction to a business that looks like it has solicited reviews.
2. Quite often those solicited reviews will be screened out (see above) based on the activity level of those users within the Yelp community.

If you do ask your customers for reviews, please be prepared for the review number fluctuation that might follow.

Also, keep in mind -- success on Yelp is primarily measured by the number of people who view your page and thus walk in the door or set an appointment, not the number of reviews you have. Yelp users are savvy: they care about quality -- not quantity -- when it comes to your business reviews.

You can do a few things to gently let customers know that they can feel free to review your business on Yelp:

1. If you've already been reviewed, we suggest posting some of the Yelp reviews in your store so that customers know to find you (and review you) on Yelp.
2. Set up a Yelp for Business Owner's account and fill out your "About this Business" section so you'll be more discoverable on Yelp.
-end paste from YELP-

The key is to let people know that you are on YELP, to educate them about the tool and encourage them to not only review you but businesses they regularly frequent. You can put the YELP sticker in your window for example and more subtly encourage people to review you or to ask what YELP is.

In no way should people solicit reviews that are not accurate representations of their business. On the other hand, it is the responsibility of every business owner to be sure that they manage their reputation appropriately.

Thanks for the great post!

Jessie

I respectfully disagree with you! Yelp discourages what you recommend with good reason, as they point out in the quote.

If a business asked me to review them on Yelp I would be very turned off. I bet I'm not the only one who feels that way.

As Yelp says,

"The most successful businesses on Yelp have had their reviews come organically."

Makes good sense to me.

Dave Lakhani

Jessie -

I agree that organic reviews are good but YELP is still a widely unknown resource except to those who do know of it.

I'm going to do an interview with the YELP staff soon and get their response to all of this. They'd have you believe that they can tell which reviews are "organic" and which are not but in practicality they cannot tell. It doesn't make sense to have people do reviews that are not accurate by any means, but reminding customers to do a review remains a good idea.

Thanks for the feedback and watch for the interview, I'm sure it will be enlightening for all of us!

Dave

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I am just going to become an owner of a business so thanks a lot for the information

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I agree. I definitely think that businesses need to pay attention when their customers say they don’t like something. Who knows how many people they will tell, especially with the viral spread of the internet and social media!

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oh interesting! that's quite an information there and i think it IS a site that is to be reckoned with if you own a small business and you need to be on top of what people are saying about you now

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I didn't know about that thing called "Yelp" but after reading this post my curiosity in this subject has grew more and more. Thanks for the info anyways.

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Yelp's almost six-year history has at times been a rocky one as the company has faced complaints over the credibility of its user reviews. Allegations have been made that Yelp gives more prominence to positive reviews of businesses that advertise on Yelp and that it removes positive reviews of businesses unwilling to cough up the cash.

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It's called a free market society, aka, Capitalism. I don't agree with it either, but in our system it is only fair. I don't know if it will hurt, or help yelp. I might think twice about posting a bad review.

That doesn't make it balanced. It tips the scales knowing you might be contradicted.

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