UPDATED (August 6, 2015): It looks like the disappearing Yelp reviews on Yahoo search results is simply a case of a data feed problem. A Yahoo employee posted this response on a related Reddit thread:
Thanks for pointing this out! I work for Yahoo, and I’ve reported this to our Yahoo Local team. They’ll be taking a look at this for sure. Yahoo Local doesn’t use the Yelp API, rather we have a data feed from them that we merge into this feed. They’ll be examining this to see if and what the problem may be. Thanks again for pointing this out to us!
What a difference a year makes.
In early 2014, Yelp and Yahoo began a partnership that brought Yelp’s online reviews to Yahoo Local business pages. Not many business owners were happy about it, though, especially after they found out that their five-star reviews on Yahoo Local had disappeared and been replaced by Yelp reviews.
One year later, it looks like Yahoo is set to bring back its own reviews to Yahoo Local, its local business discovery platform.
According to a Blumenthals report, Yahoo is no longer serving up Yelp reviews, and has begun to bring back old Yahoo reviews to its business pages.
Here’s a screenshot (from Blumenthals) of a current business page on Yahoo, as well as the old page of another business, one with Yelp reviews still being displayed.
There is no official word from either Yahoo or Yelp about the changes, and in random Yahoo searches we’ve conducted, some business pages still contain an external link to Yelp reviews of that business.
“It appears that Yahoo pages are disconnecting from the Yelp API,” wrote Blumenthals reader Jeff in a blog comment. “The cached version of the Yahoo page shows the Yelp review(s). The current Yahoo page is now displaying all of the old Yahoo reviews again.”
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Bing now displaying Yelp reviews
It’s worth noting that Yahoo recently split off its Small Business brand, becoming Luminate, from Aabaco Small Business. Also, coincidentally, Bing – a Yahoo competitor – has apparently struck a partnership with Yelp, similar to what Yahoo did last year. As reported by the SEM Post, Bing now displays Yelp reviews in local business search results, and the data can be sorted either by date or by rating.
”Bing has had a relationship with Yelp since 2012, but Bing primarly just hosted reviews in the local knowledge panel that would show in the search results,” wrote the SEM Post’s Jennifer Slegg. “But now they are clearly showcasing that partnership with this addition. (And) while Bing also has a relationship with Yahoo, serving some of their search results, these are not being displayed in Yahoo’s search results.”
What does this mean for business owners?
These changes mean that business owners and marketers should continue to diversify their review management strategies.
While Yelp and Google are often the top priorities for those looking to actively manage online reviews and build a five-star brand reputation, other review platforms – like that of Yahoo and Bing – also play a major part in shaping how consumers perceive businesses and brands.