Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Social Media Controversy: Yelp

I have been updating my Dandyid lately. I also switched my mobile phone to the iphone. Those two things led me to discovering a few new Web 2.0 and social media services.

For examples, I have signed up for accounts on Goodreads.com (a social media site for logging, reviewing, and sharing books), Fring (a mobile phone federation client for voice, video, and text communications), and keep enjoying last.fm as my favorite online radio service. However, by far, my favorite entertainment has been around Yelp.com


I learned about yelp last year when I was in California and read an article in a local newspaper about it. In a nutshell, there has been a lot of controversy around this service; as a matter of fact, a year after reading that article, I still can't believe how or why it's becoming popular at all.

Yelp.com is a site for writing reviews about local businesses. They are localized (i.e. think craigslist style) and literally every business (retail, restaurant, or service) exists in the site. You can go there and check (or write!) reviews on any business in your neighborhood. The controversy is around the fact that Yelp.com reviews can significantly impact the small business owner. Be it negative reviews can send you out of business, or many positive reviews can boost sales.

The big deal is that multiple business owners have reported that after declining a paid subscription to Yelp.com's service (offered by a Yelp.com sales person to business owners) all or some positive reviews suddenly disappear and negative ones move all the way to the top. This has been denied many times by the founders of the site; however, it is impressive how many business owners in many different places claim the exact same argument. Amazing, in my opinion.

Some very nice reads are:

2 comments:

Product Junkies said...

I own a business in Atlanta and was called on by a Yelp sales associate last week. I told him I could not advertise with them and had 4 positive reviews "disappear".

Product Junkies said...
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