One of the issues with review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List is the issue of who those sites are serving. Both companies will state publicly that their site is for the benefit of the consumer. However, they ask the business owner to “subsidize” the site by paying for advertising. Many people don’t realize that this strategy is not in a business owner’s best interest.
Recently, Yahoo decided to partner with Yelp and display Yelp reviews on their search site. It appears that any previous Yahoo reviews you may have had about your business will no longer be there going forward. Since these are not the business owner’s own reviews, Yahoo can do whatever they want with them. The article discusses the frustration of business owners that cultivated a significant number of positive reviews on Yahoo, only to see them disappear with no warning.
The hard truth is that all of these review “properties” make the majority of their money from advertising. Hosting reviews for businesses is not at all a service for the business owner. Hosting reviews are a means to get more eyeballs to their site – and the more eyeballs, the more they can charge for advertising. It’s literally that simple.
So – as a business owner, we truly understand your frustration and anger at Yahoo’s policy. But you can’t be surprised – and you shouldn’t be relying on reviews on third party sites like Yahoo (and Yelp) that rely almost solely on advertising revenue for income. You should be considering your own platform to host your own content, or using a third party platform such as Bizyhood. Once you are paying for a platform to host your own content (including feedback), then you have more control over its use…. and abuse.