An hour ago, Yelp CEO and co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman answered questions from reporters about two policy changes. The user review-powered business directory site has received a lot of heat about its “Favorite Review” feature, as well as the unwanted astro-turfing that inevitably happens on sites with user reviews.
Yelp discontinued the pay-for-play Favorite offering, which moved the best review to the top, pushing other reviews down, or off the page. The service is still defined on Yelp’s About Us page: “Paying advertisers can also promote a favorite review at the top of their Yelp page, but can never change or re-order their other reviews.”
The other change has to do with Yelp’s review filter functionality. The impact of which is not quite as straightforward. It was explained that any reviews that have been filtered will be viewable under a link on the bottom of the business’s page. You’ll be able to see that ‘something happened’ when a review has been removed.
Stoppelman deflected questions of the timing of the changes during the call, to coincide with ongoing class action lawsuits, defaulting to variations on the message that Yelp attempts to treat all businesses equally. The CEO also declined to agree that the changes will give credence to the claims of the plaintiffs in the three suits.