Are your customer-generated business reviews on Yelp being filtered? Don’t get too frustrated. Just give it a little bit of time.
According to a study by Harvard Business School’s Michael Luca and Boston University School of Management’s Georgios Zervas, online review site Yelp is more likely to filter reviews posted by users with newer accounts. In fact, according to the results of the study, more than 70 percent of user accounts with only one Yelp review under their name have had that review filtered.
The more reviews a user writes, the less likely the reviews are going to be filtered.
The study, entitled “Fake It Till You Make It: Reputation, Competition, and Yelp Review Fraud,” is the same one that has led its researchers to conclude that independent, “underdog” local businesses with intense local competition and few existing reviews on Yelp are more likely to engage in review fraud.
But the rest of the data also confirm what Yelp-listed local business owners as well as reputation and review management professionals have suspected all along about the Yelp Review Filter: that it gives preference to reviews written by users (Yelpers) with older, more trusted accounts. This represents a challenge for business owners working to encourage more positive reviews from customers.
Interestingly enough, Luca and Zervas’ study also shows that Yelpers without a profile image are 41 percentage points more likely to have their reviews filtered.
Also: the most extreme reviews and ratings are more likely to be filtered. Even with everything else being equal on Yelp’s five-star rating scale, one-star and five-star reviews are 3 percentage points more likely to be filtered than three-star reviews.
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