Posts Tagged ‘Review’

This past week yelp changed a few things, they no longer filer reviews!

But before you get too excited, they now “Recommend” and “Highlight” reviews, while they  have other “reviews currently not recommended.” But.. You can NOW click through to this reviews that are not currently recommended,  without having to enter a captcha!

“Yahoooooo!… No Captcha!

Wait there’s more, the “NOT RECOMMENDED” reviews are now sorted from low to high stars… AND they have a new video!!!


Highlight reel from Yelp’s New Video


(hmmm…. EVERY review? But what about the businesses that trip a review filter that causes their reviews to pass a different standard…???)


Wow… Not sure where to go with this one since Nick B. in Austin is so obviously fake, yet he’s reviews only got filtered for a “Bridal Company”. Check out this thread to see how many Yelper’s agree that Nick’s review should be filtered >>> Austin Pest Control Reviews on Yelp

Yelp Testing Carousel Layout

Apparently I was one of the lucky 1% to see Yelp’s new layout. But I did find a way for you to see it yourself… CLICK HERE! 


The page is wider. The font is larger. The “Competitor Companies” on the right are pushed further down. The reviewer images are bigger. They encourage users to add photos, for better or worse. What I surely don’t like is that they have distorted the video image by taking a landscape layout and squished it into a square. It would be ideal if I could select the image to show in the video box… even worse is this:


They have also eliminated a few options, like bookmarking and linking to a review. They moved the compliments, messages, and follows to the left and only visible upon scrolling over them.


I give the new design a 3 star rating… nothing to be too excited about, but not too bad either. Still don’t like the review filter even if Yelp has changed the name to “Not Recommended”. And I am still not happy about the number of fake reviewers that Yelp knowing permits to remain on their system. Yes… KNOWINGLY permit. I’ve reached out to the uppers at yelp and they have assured me that this user and others like him are being looked into. But they have been aware of him since I first reported it over 2 months ago. Here is Luther with Yelp responding…

If anyone wants the details on the fake review network that yelp isn’t doing anything about, ping me. I’ve got a pretty little spreadsheet I can share with you.

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You will find the following “Consumer Alert” on yelp:

We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business. We weren’t fooled, but wanted you to know because buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Check out the evidence here. ( )

Clicking the link provided will take you to an image caption of the correspondence between the yelp sting operative and the company. This jeweler was offering $200 for a review, per the craigslist post they had created. And apparently they are not the only ones using this technique… per google search for “ Yelp review”:

Does this Yelp Penalty Affect Ranking?

Levi Jewelers still ranks #1 in the yelp search “Jeweler” from a desktop, as of today. It still shows the 5 stars and 91 reviews. ( Interesting to note that they do have 366 filtered reviews. )

When you travel to their page the consumer alert is below the fold:

The mobile version does not currently show the consumer alert whatsoever. And the yelp deal with Levi, one that pays yelp, is still active.

What is the verdict?

Honestly, I think yelp could show some more teeth here. But for the sake of making a public example of this company, I believe they are opting to keep them up. This is also a recent update and I am sure that the future versions of Yelp penalties will be modified. The email correspondence occurred beginning Oct. 11th through Oct. 13th. It appears that it was leaked to the press very quickly and thus the public relations team is getting their message out.

However, from a previous yelp broken filter blunder in which Yelp quickly reacted to remove the reviews, I feel yelp still fails to make a solid stance. Their previous blunder only called for a quick cover up, it did not remove the members who violated the guidelines. Will yelp protect the other members that the Jeweler paid off to get good reviews? Will there be a point when businesses get an advocate to combat yelpers gone wild?

Pest Control Guy Penalized on Yelp for Reviews

Rumor has it that there is a pest control guy that was caught red handed buying reviews on yelp as well. I have not been able to find this bugger. I am shocked however that a Phoenix pest control competitor of mine openly offers a credit for a yelp review on his website. It seems that this should certainly be a red flag for yelp.

“Love Us? YELP! Post a positive comment on YELP and receive $5.00 off any service. Let us know through our Contact Us page”

Apparently a yelp review is only worth $5 for pest control companies. That is a bit shy of the $200 the jeweler is offering and the $100 a restaurant in Sedona is offering.

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Dealing with happy customers and positive experiences which lead to wonderful online reviews is very rewarding.

But, dealing with a negative experience and the threat of a bad reviews is painful, as explained by one restaurant owner. A user of Yelp himself he finds it repulsive and revolutionary that a tool that can do so much good can be used for a weapon of extortion.

Read it hear:

I couldn’t help but leave my thoughts and comments, despite the horrid abuse or even the sometimes justified vindication users have, online reviews are changing the buying, shopping, and business world.

Online Reviews are Powerful

You give a man an inch and he takes a mile.

…but the good news for small businesses is that instead of spending $10k a month in newspaper or yellowbook advertising, they can spend time and energy impressing their clients and earning good reviews.

I know that I am just a pest control guy, but consider this, $10k a month for a full page phone book ad, now take that $10k a month and invest in improving your product or service. Bulwark did just that. We cut phonebook ads and put in back into operations and ultimately our pest control technicians’ pocket. It paid off. Instead of wasting money on advertising that no longer worked, we invested in our people and have reaped the reward.

So yes, review sites like this have a down side, but the rewards on the flip side are well worth the occasional bump.

Invest in Your Future

Investing in your product and/or your people is part of making sure your business survives. Did you know that Gillette invested six years and $750 million to develop it’s razor the Mach3? A razor. A razor that only costs buyers $6 to $10. I can’t fathom spending that kind of money on a razor. How many would they have to sell to make that back? But you know what, it worked. It was a success. The razor is phenomenal. I use it and I love it. That razor captured 20% of the razor market after it’s launch.

An old proverb about investing the future says it the best:

If you are investing for 1 year, plant corn.

If you are investing for 10 years plant trees.

If you are investing for 100 years, plant people.

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New Facelift - Review Button, Photo Button, Best Ever Badge

New Facelift - Review Button, Photo Button, Best Ever Badge

Google Places gets some upgrades

A – Write a Review Button

The “Write a Review” button is a new feature. They have had something similar in the past, but with the advent of Hot Pot this call to action was not so clear over the past few months. In fact the second item marked A was the only call to action for a review with the previous Hot Pot facelift. It was  by far one of the most discouraging updates from a user standpoint. Trust me, being someone that works with promoting online reviews, the previous click the stars to review idea was a complete nightmare. Users could not figure out how to add reviews.  The new button is very, VERY, clear. Good job google on the new “Write a Review” Button.

Sign in to rate

Very Clear instructions Google. Kudos.

It is also complemented by a clear “Sign in to rate” button when not signed it. When signed in it mirrors the “Write a review” button.

B – Upload Photos

The upload photos button is another great addition to Google Places. The search engines value user created content. This button and these photos, in my opinion, will add another trust signal to a location. In fact, there are examples of locations ranking very well despite the outside the metro city limits disadvantages due to geo tagged photos associated with that location. You can find my uploaded photo of the Seattle Conference Center (Map Rank E as of this post). The photos are reviewed prior to approval and appearing on the places page. Hopefully this eliminates abuse and spam of photos. Yes, photo spam in google places will be attempted.

Screen Shot from Search: "Phoenix Bug Control Bulwark"

Photos are showing up in search. This just adds to all reasons that you want to claim your place page on Google, so the owners images can show up here.


c- Best Ever Badges

The Best Ever badge. While this isn’t entirely new I thought I would take a second to catch up on this feature. The Best Ever badge shows at that top of the places page as marked C in the first image. The badge at the top tallies up the total number of best ever badge. It also shows in the review section as in the image above. While this isn’t a game changer it does give a nice additional shout out from users. For those that willy-nilly hand out 5 star reviews, perhaps this badge might be saved for the Best Ever. In fact, we should all make an oath to only ever assign 1 best ever per category. If you promise, then add a comment now with your pledge. If you make that promise then you can read on….

Only Found in Hot Pot

How to get a BEST EVER BADGE

Hot Pot. It is an option in Hot Pot. to add a Best Ever Badge. It would actually be nice to be able to sort by Best Ever Badges, but Google places reps have told me that the sort by reviews was removed due to review spam. So I imagine that searching for services with best ever badges will not be an included feature. In the mean time, it does add a  little flare to the google places section.

The Smile and Frown Facelift-

This is a cross over from Google’s Hot Pot as well. As you can see in Google’s Hot Pot, there is a dislike like section. For a the restaurant this includes Food, Service, Atmosphere, Value. Google has added similar ratings to its Google Places reviews. So now you can like or dislike the Service. Users can like or dislike the Value. If you choose to select the smile next to Service or the smile next to Value a bolded “Liked Service” or a bolded “Liked Value” will appear at the end of your review. If you choose to select the frown next to Service or the frown next to Value a bolded “Disliked Service” or a bolded “Disliked Value” will appear at the end of your review.

Click Smiley face, get liked section.

Disliked Button - Not Smiley face

Overall, this is a good move toward improving Google Places reviews. Once a user is trained to look for the Liked/Disliked section, they can see at a glance if the value and service of a company was liked or disliked. More importantly, a Google Places user may see a pattern that is not so obvious through the traditional star rating system; perhaps a company provides great service but the value of the service is questionable due to the cost. Plus you may think a service or restaurant deserves a 5 star review while still disliking something about the company. In the image above the review for the restaurant was 5 stars, but the reviewer disliked; “Value”. With two easy clicks of the mouse, a reviewer can qualify his or her review and make it much more useful for the end user.

One con with the new Liked/Disliked button is that it is not easily seen. A suggestion might be to change the color of the text or to add a graphic depiction of their choices. In my opinion, it is important to differentiate the Liked/Disliked section from the text of the review. But they aren’t calling me for Phoenix bug control.

And the Favicon

– Yes, just giving a shout out to the new Favicon in google places. I like it. That’s all.

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