Business Owners Complain Of Positive Reviews Disappearing After Yahoo’s Deal With Yelp

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The Wall Street Journal reports many business owners are upset after years of positive reviews have vanished from Yahoo Local following their recent deal with Yelp.

The deal meant that Yelp’s business listings, including consumer reviews and photos, would be displayed whenever users search Yahoo for local services. Apparently the deal also meant old Yahoo Local reviews, which business owners struggled for years to get, would slowly be replaced entirely with Yelp reviews. The Wall Street Journal documents many business owners feeling “helpless” as a result of this change.

Since mid-March, when a new review about a business is posted on Yelp it replaces an old review posted on Yahoo Local. The Yahoo Local reviews will stay until a new Yelp review is posted, which means as more Yelp reviews come in the old Yahoo reviews will continue to get pushed out. The listing changes apply for desktop, smartphone and tablet users, as well as for search results on Yahoo Maps.

In response to Yahoo reviews being replaced with Yelp reviews, a Yahoo spokeswoman said:

We partnered with Yelp, one of the most trusted, relevant sources of consumer business reviews, to provide a richer search experience for Yahoo users. That’s why when Yelp’s reviews are available for U.S. businesses, they will replace Yahoo Local reviews.

Aside from losing old Yahoo reviews, some business owners are reportedly concerned about the number of anonymous reviews posted on Yelp, another issue that has had Yelp in the hot seat recently. While Yelp and Yahoo both require users to create profiles with verified email addresses before submitting reviews, the reviewers aren’t required to use their real names.

Let this news be a word of caution to business owners who have amassed a number of Yahoo Local reviews, they will more than likely disappear over time. Some business owners suggest saving positive reviews in the form of screenshots, so even if they disappear from the web you will still have them. After you have saved them you can then publish on your website or do with as you wish.

Do you agree with Yahoo’s decision to replace their reviews with Yelp’s reviews? Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
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  • James Fins

    Yelp is notorious among small business owners for manipulating reviews to extort advertising revenue.

    Anyone who has worked to build a legitimate base of positive reviews online knows that Yelp’s standard practice seems to be to hide new reviews for business that don’t spend money with them, preferring to keep a more equal balance of positive and negative reviews, despite the actual number of positive versus negative reviews. Yelp claims to employ special filtering to weed out bogus reviews, but to most small business owners it is Yelps claims that appear to be bogus.

    Separately as a consumer I can recall too many occasions where I chose a business based on Yelp reviews, only to find that the experience did not match the rating any way.

    Have you noticed a new restaurant open up and overnight it has a huge Yelp buzz and many, many reviews. How does a restaurant that’s been open less than two weeks build such a huge review base when established businesses struggle to maintain more than a handful of reviews, with the vast majority of their positive reviews being “hidden” by Yelp’s filtering?

    Yelp is not a trusted source of reviews, based both on consumer experience and experience as a small business owner. Yahoo has done itself a disservice with this deal and will ultimately lose credibility.

    Yelp is a business which makes it’s money via advertising revenue. It’s a simple equation that deserves more honest scrutiny from the media.

  • Lora

    Yahoo has made a huge mistake. Yelp is notorious for hiding and/or removing reviews. Based on my experience this discriminatory practice coincides with Yelp soliciting businesses to advertise with them. No Advertisements means good reviews get hidden or removed claiming that they are suspicious. Check it out. See businesses that advertise with Yelp have many more reviews that don’t get removed than businesses that don’t advertise.

  • Margie Cheatum

    This change has devastated our business. For the 1st 4 years of our business, we used yahoo locals. Our 1st reviews were there. This is truly terrible

  • Cameron Johnson – Owner Hi Def Auto Detail

    My business Hi Def Auto Detail used Yahoo Local Reviews as our independent source for customers to leave reviews for over 5 years. We had amassed over 100 positive reviews from happy clients all with 5-star ratings, making Hi Def Auto Detail the highest rated auto detailing service in North Texas. Now all of a sudden I am shocked to see ALL our Yahoo Local reviews gone and replaced with the 2 Yelp reviews we’ve received a couple of years ago. This change can seriously damage my business and erode the marketplace confidence we’ve worked so hard to build. An email of this change would have been nice…come on Yahoo!

  • tina bruland

    I am with all of you on this. We had 31 – 5 star reviews. Now we have one on yelp from 2011. We need to band together and get this changed back. I have written my senator and will try to find out who else to contact. This is horrible.

  • John Castell

    Yelp is nothing but a scam… as everyone described below. The accusations are true, and have been proven time and time again. Unless you pay them, good luck having a good presence on Yelp.

    Google reviews are more reliable.

  • My chatmeter

    It’s not quite fair for Yelp to replace Yahoo’s reviews with their own. Those businesses have worked hard for years for those reviews and now they have to start over from scratch. Some business owners are saying they could screenshot their reviews and manually publish them on their website and that’s a good idea, but still not fair. They shouldn’t have to do that!

  • Lisa Chakan

    How’s about this one….

    An unbalanced woman leaves a scathing review for a salon, with bizarre and untrue claims. The salon owner’s clients’ begin leaving good reviews, in response to this review. YELP claims that all of the good reviews are fraudulent. Each and every one of the 20+ positive reviews comes from a range of legitimate clients: long-standing and new. These are people with Facebook profiles, so you can see they’re real. Many of them have YELP “friends”: and have written other reviews.

    The unbalanced broad? She has no public profile, has no YELP friends, and has written three reviews: 2 of them negative reviews against local hair salons, written within 3 weeks of each other. Suspect? Not to YELP.

    Meanwhile, we come to find out that the lunatic who left her novel-length one-star review is something of a litigious gadfly, or worse…her name appears in the NYS Court public docket, multitudinous times, often “pro-se”, ie representing herself, in one case after another….most of them being money judgments for not paying her bills.

    YELP will only show her review. The other 20+ favorable? Nope, they get hidden.

    THIS lunatic is deemed trustworthy by the YELP software and customer service team.

    While, the owner of this salon…a respected member of the community and mother of two, PLUS her loyal clientele, are deemed bad, bad, bad by YELP.

    Can you tell I’m furious over what’s been done to this woman?

    YELP is a nightmare.