Yelp is a platform with a mobile app and website that crowdsources and publishes user reviews for local businesses. In an effort to stay reputable, the site runs off of a very unique algorithm, which aims to filter out fake reviews.
Yelp is a platform designed to benefit the consumer. Reviews and ratings mean nothing if they are not authentic. If businesses could post their own good reviews, they would all have 5-star ratings. (This would make for a pretty useless app.)
The goal of the algorithm is to spot a fake review. No one knows the specific algorithm except those who wrote it. What we do know is that Yelp is synced with Facebook, and that they use this to their advantage. Positive reviews posted by accounts with no photo, no friends? These are probably going to get filtered.
The problem is that the algorithm can’t differentiate from an actual fake review and a review that just happens to look fake. This is upsetting to business owners because a lot of their genuine, positive reviews are being flagged for having fake characteristics, and they aren’t showing up on the business’s page. None of the reviews are deleted, but they are placed lower down on the page, which gives them less exposure to potential customers.
The bottom line is that Yelp is for customers, not businesses. The most proactive step that a business owner can take, in relation to their Yelp reputation, is to continue to encourage positive feedback and authentic reviews.