Let's review how we're getting reviews

Let’s review how we are getting reviews…

Since the beginning of time, businesses have relied on their reputation to be successful. Fast forward to today and this system plays a key role in every industry but like everything, it is done a little differently. If you thought the good honest word of your community would sit on the sidelines while technology transformed the world, you were wrong. This is the information age, where you can ask 500 people for a (well thought out) opinion of a restaurant, peruse a menu, place an order, and have your meal brought to you without getting off your couch. What a time to be alive. 

Companies like Yelp, have created a system that demands the attention of business owners of all sizes. Essentially, businesses are now being rated on a 1-5 star scale. As of December 2016, Yelp had 73 million monthly unique visitors on desktop computers alone. Despite its’ popularity, business owners have reported issues with these rating services, particularly the ‘filter feature’. This is when Yelp or Google filter a customers review and basically hides it. The post can still be seen by users but is now ‘not recommended’ and does not contribute to the profile’s overall star rating. I’ll give you an example of my own. I work for a web design agency in San Diego, being in the ‘web industry’ our reputation online is important. So having legitimate positive reviews hidden like they were a stain on a couch, is a sucker punch. Not long ago we worked with a fantastic client on their web design project and during, built a strong business relationship. This client could not wait to write our review and what a review it was. Everything you want to hear someone say about your work was said in this perfectly legitimate review. If you go on our Yelp or Google profile you will find many flattering comments from previous clients but you won’t find our best one. It has been deemed…not recommended. 

Until I started working in web design I didn’t know any of this, so I did some research and found that there are specific things that cause reviews to get stuck in the filter. There are also measures you can take to ensure your review is going to end up on display like a shining trophy in a glass case. 

 Here are some common reasons why reviews get filtered:

  1. It’s from someone who has only written 1 review
  2. It’s from someone who has no profile info (profile photo, additional info, link to Facebook, etc.)
  3. The review is too positive or too negative. This also goes for reviewers who only post positive reviews everywhere they go. I guess Yelp assumes you can’t enjoy every experience.
  4. It isn’t funny or useful. Other Yelp reviewers can mark a review as funny or useful. Reviews that are too short also get filtered. “Best web design in San Diego!” really isn’t helping anyone.
  5. The IP is wrong. Yelp uses IP addresses to determine whether or not a review is fake. So, if a reviewer is on vacation and visits your business but waits until they get home to review it, that review is probably going to get filtered
  6. It’s strongly slanted both positively and negatively


There is usually a good reason why you would take the time out of your day to review a business, positively or negatively. Keeping this information in mind while reviewing will increase the chances of getting what you want out of the post. As a community, we rely on each other to not only share and recommend, but to understand the systems’ rules and requirements. Your opinion matters, make sure it’s heard.

AUTHOR: Taylor Davis

Taylor worked his way up to managing one of the largest banks in Australia, right before making a big move to California to become the lead web design Project Manager at Techleus.