Last month, we ran a story about citizen reviewers going online to post their impressions of restaurants. It included the website Yelp, and explored some criticisms the company has come under, including allegations that it manipulates its rating system on restaurants. In our reporting, however, Yelp was not given a chance to comment, which was not appropriate. The company asked us to post a statement in response to the piece. Here it is.
"Here in Boston, people are writing reviews on Yelp about all types of local businesses, from restaurants and bars, to mechanics and dry cleaners, and yes, even the Boston Red Sox! Boston is among the oldest and largest of the Yelp cities, and like the rest of the site, Yelp Boston's growth continues to accelerate at a rapid clip.
But with that growth, also comes questions -- especially since Yelp operates differently than other online review guides. While we would have loved the opportunity to discuss these questions with The Boston Globe before they published a story on us, we are glad to have the opportunity to clear up any myths or misconceptions now.
The reason that 32 million people visited Yelp last month to find a great local business is because we've gone to great lengths to protect the integrity of the site. We agree that it's easy for anyone to post anything on the Internet. That's precisely why we have a Review Filter in place to ensure that the reviews you are reading -- or, as a business, receiving -- are the most useful and trustworthy. Keeping business profiles free from shill or malicious reviews isn't easy but we do our best. Because it's important; it's why consumers trust Yelp.
We'll be the first to admit our review filter isn't perfect, and we work constantly to make it better. Above all else, however, our fully automated filter is applied equally to advertisers and non-advertisers alike. And, of course, you can't pay Yelp to take down a negative review or post a positive one."
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.