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Yelp Goes on the Offensive About Filtering

Published on March 19, 2010
by Geoffrey A. Fowler

As reported by the Journal, the reviews Web site Yelp is under fire. It is facing three lawsuits from businesses that claim it improperly skews reviews in favor of companies that advertise with it and against those that do not.

Yelp denies the allegations, blaming misunderstandings about the way it filters reviews to prevent businesses from inflating their ratings.

One contributing factor may be that Yelp chooses not to explain much about how it decides which reviews to show and which to hide. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman says that exposing too much of the site’s secret technology sauce would make it easier for shills to fill the site with puffed up reviews.

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