Thu, Jan 24 2013 at 3:31 PM
I've written honest, mostly positive reviews for Yelp for several years now. I would never DREAM of "buying" special treatment by telling them I was writing a review *wink wink, nudge nudge*. That's some truly ugly and unethical behavior. Besides, I want my reviews to reflect the service ANYONE patronizing a business would receive - hard to write a review like that when you get "special" treatment. As for hidden yelp reviews, it's been my understanding and experience, having written hundreds of reviews, many of them for businesses I added to the database, that reviewers that don't have much of a record are the ones hidden. They usually have written only one review, which makes it difficult to verify whether they are a real person or a marketing department/owner who is trying to polish their image. Same goes for 1 off negative reviews as well. Second, the "hidden" reviews are actually fully readable; I often do it to see if I can spot why it's been hidden. The idea that reviews are hidden until a business pays up to Yelp, doesn't seem to hold water to me. In my community a great many of the reviews are for public facilities like parks, hiking trails, schools, etc. They all have reviews, and many of them even have filtered reviews. Most reviews on Yelp and FlipKey are actually positive: http://www.yelp.com/faq#rating_distribution http://www.flipkey.com/blog/2013/01/17/10-travel-predictions-for-2013/?utm_source=jan13-romanticgetaways&utm_medium=email&utm_content=jan13-romanticgetaways-flipkeytop5infographic&utm_campaign=travelernewsletter And, ironically, while I've never requested better/special treatment from a vendor in exchange for a good review, I've been OFFERED better/special treatment in exchange for a good review more than once. This is not because I was a known reviewer but part of the standard check-out process with the receptionist at several businesses I frequent. I did not participate because it made me feel uncomfortable, even though I was asked EVERY time I visited. I'm not advocating businesses do this, but rather that buying better reviews or "extortion" seems to be a two way street. Oh and lastly, I guess I should say I do not and have not ever worked for Yelp or any other review site. Citizen reviews only!