Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Yelp! Sucks

I've often relied on Orbitz hotel reviews and also Amazon product reviews to guide me (and I've written numerous reviews for Orbitz and Amazon), but Yelp never was on my personal radar, probably through ignorance on my part.  But a few months after we moved Mom into the Alexian Brothers Hospice Residence faculty, my sister happened upon a Yelp review for the facility, and the review was a complete hatchet job. Since at least one of us had been at the facility every day for months, we were appalled at the inaccuracies and lies contained in the negative review. Also, it was very poorly written, confusingly worded,  and extensively employed distortion, outright lies, and name-calling. 

We both felt bad, and eventually over the four months that Mom was at the facility, we both grew more and more angry and dismayed over the inaccurate portrayal of the facility.  I also talked with some of the staff (who were unaware of the bad review) and they were also dismayed and immediately able to determine that the author was someone whose loved one had only been there one night and had been told to leave several other facilities due to constant complaining and criticism.  So after Mom died, I signed up for a Yelp account and wrote a positive review based on our experiences

Much to my dismay, when I checked my review a few weeks later, it had been removed by Yelp! Actually, I found it later at the bottom of the page, when I followed a link to an "unapproved review." Unapproved? Huh! I researched a bit more. Some computer algorithm had decided my glowing review was fabricated - yet the fabricated and untruthful negative review had been approved? WTF! More investigation discovered a Forbes article as well as many others, and even websites dedicated to the unfairness of Yelp's process for inclusion/exclusion of reviews. And there's no way to contact a human referee to arbitrate the computer algorithm's decision!

So I filled out a form I finally located on Yelp's site and I said this:

Crap! My review is not recommended due to software? My mom was in this residence for 18 weeks and I spent quite a while on the review! It is truthful and I am not an employee! The only other review, which was from a disgruntled customer and based on 1 night in the hospice, was accepted? What's up with that? I am astonished and dismayed at Yelp. I thought it was a good service but now I have real doubts!

A few days later got this automatic reply:

Thanks for writing.
We use automated software designed to recommend the reviews that will be most helpful to the Yelp community. The software applies the same standards to every business and every review, and we can’t manually override the results for any single business or review. If we could, people might think that we favor some businesses over others.
Nevertheless, it’s always helpful to get feedback – we are continually working to improve the algorithm so that it can recommend the best reviews for our community.

-The Yelp Support Team

So Yelp! is again off my radar and relegated to the heap of other crap websites out to make money for someone rather than provide an accurate service for consumers.

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