Is Yelp filtering good reviews out of their ratings to make business look bad?
Sending out the link apropos to a discussion we had at yesterday's meetup. The thread is long but there is some good info in there, esp. in posts which come after the dismissal of the class action suit against Yelp (after autumn 2011).
Here's the Cliff Notes summary:
There is obviously an issue that business owners feel, that non-business-owners probably don't feel, and that Yelp doesn't really care about. Yelp is advertising-driven so they don't really mind if their review filters are messed up for non-paying business owners (though they adamantly refuse to say this "out loud":).
For people writing reviews, the likelihood of your review being filtered seems inversely proportional to the number of Yelp friends and Yelp reviews you've written. So as a business owner you need reviewers who have lots of friends on Yelp and who have written lots of reviews previously. Customers who have few friends on Yelp and have left only one review ever (for your business) seem the most likely to be filtered.
Personally I've always been skeptical of the review system on Yelp and I've never relied on it much. Hearing about these issues with automatic review filtering and hard-selling of advertising does disturb me a bit, but Yelp is a privately held business and they can essentially do as they please.
Good luck on the Yelp-front!