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Blame It On the Automated, Algorithmic Review Filter

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[Photo: Bernadette E. on Yelp]
Yesterday, the NYT interviewed Yelp co-founder and chief executive, Jeremy Stoppelman, who suggests that the company's legal woes stem, in part, from the public's misunderstanding of how their automated, algorithmic review filter works. He says accusations of extortion are false, explaining that sales reps have no control over the review filter and that advertising status doesn't matter. Stoppelman mentions a couple of ways Yelp is attempting to make things better for businesses, including trying to catch and automatically remove unjustly negative reviews from competitors and stepping up outreach to business owners to explain how the site works and how to utilize free tools. When asked if he has ever considered that he might be the "most hated man in small business," he answered:

You can't really feel that way if you have 30 million consumers visiting you every month. I meet business owners all the time, and the reality is they're not all angry. The ones who are calling lawyers or calling the media are upset, but that's not necessarily a representative sample. For perspective, it's important to remember that there are up to 15 million businesses that you can find on Yelp and 10 million reviews. We have tens of thousands of advertisers. We have some lawsuits from a handful, I think 12, local businesses. In the grand perspective, it's really a drop in the bucket. [New York Times]

Yelp this.