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A little help with Yelp

I was excited to see a fellow blogger’s post last month on online lawyer directories. After hanging out a shingle, I went on a mission to build my online presence and I’ve learned a few things along the way.

Since potential clients check out online lawyer review sites, I send clients a satisfaction survey at the close of every matter. At the end of the survey, I provide the links to sites, such as Google and Avvo, where clients can leave a review of my office if they choose to share their experience with others.

Yelp used to be included in that list—until I realized it was waste of my time and my client’s time. I’m grateful to the clients who went to the trouble of creating a Yelp profile so that they could leave a review and share the positive experience they had with my practice. Unfortunately, you’ll never find those reviews unless you look very, very closely.

Why? Because Yelp doesn’t “recommend” the reviews my clients took the time to write. According to Yelp, their automated software filters out reviews from users with a brand new-profile or reviews that are too positive or too negative.

A Yelp sales representative has been contacting my office every so often. The other day, he got through to me and asked if I had time to talk. I took the opportunity to ask him why my reviews were not showing up. He estimated that three of every four reviews will not make the cut. His suggestion is to never ask clients to leave a review. It would happen naturally, he said, over the course of time.

Two of my clients who left Yelp reviews even submitted their review a second time when they saw their original review didn’t show up on the site. You’ll find them if you click on the inconspicuous “reviews that are not currently recommended” link in small, light gray text.

Yelp has been a source of frustration for many small business owners who dread the “automated software” that hides legitimate reviews. A cursory Google search will reveal a number of pages criticizing the Yelp filter.

What are your thoughts on Yelp?

3 comments

  1. A lot of businesses are moving away from Yelp and opting to have their clients leave reviews on sites like Google or in your case sites that are specific to lawyer reviews. Sadly Yelp’s greed has gotten in the way of them offering a service that is beneficial to both readers and business owners. Their stock prices speak louder than words.

  2. I shut down my Yelp business page for this exact reason. In addition to filtering out all of my legitimate reviews, they also started advertising a major competitor’s site on my Yelp page- this done after I turned down paid advertising with Yelp. It was a frustrating and eye-opening experience.

  3. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in my frustration with Yelp!

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