I was surprised to see that YELP brought out one of their VPs when you were being interviewed by CNBC - seems like they are bringing out the big guns. Have they agreed to be interviewed for the production? Seems to me that if they have nothing to hide, they'd be open to sharing how their review filtering algorithm works.
That surprised me, too. They have not agreed to be interviewed. If they have nothing to hide, then I look forward to them sitting down and having an open, honest and transparent discussion about all points that will be brought up in the film.
Have you given any thought to bringing in a Hollywood heavy weight like Michael Moore to help consult? This is right up his alley. Billion Dollar Bully vs small business.
I have definitely been thinking about that since all this made big news.
I'm lazy. What is the nature of the firestorm? Yelp has (to my limited knowledge) been very placating when it comes to bullying claims. What have you found?
The firestorm began because Yelp's stock took a 4% hit on Thursday, equating about $150 million, and it was blamed on my trailer.
I have been speaking with numerous business owners and am collecting all their evidence of any wrongdoing and will be putting it together into a cohesive story for the audience.
Well, I look forward to watching your results. Keep up the good fight.
Kaylie, Love what your doing! Have you considered to highlight the fact that YELP does ZERO background check on the businesses they allow to advertise? Often letting illegal non-licensed businesses, scams, lead generation sites, etc to advertise..
That was brought to my attention by a business owner, and yes, we will be touching on that. I'm glad you love what we're doing and am so appreciative of the support!
What's the worst thing businesses do to get good Yelp reviews?
Hmm, good question.
Well, obviously some sort of filter does need to exist to prevent people from leaving false positive reviews for companies. Based on what I know, I would say two things:
1. Paying a service in an attempt to get good reviews (which Yelp is actively trying to prevent)
2. Out of respect for themselves, kowtowing to customers who are threatening bad reviews if they don't get freebies.
Did you realize Angies List is currently being sued for Fraud as well in Federal Court? - http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2015/03/24/web-site-angies-list-sued-for-fraud-in-federal-court-in-philadelphia/
I did read about that! Maybe you can make that documentary :)
Why is it that Yelp can decide that a false negative review of a business is legitimate without any evidence? Why is it that Yelp can ignore a business owners request to have the libelous insulting review removed from their yelp business listing? Why is it that Yelp is not interested in seeing any proof that the false negative review is false, and Yelp allows degrading, insulting reviews on a business owners Yelp business listing that violate Yelp's own Terms of Service? Why is it that Yelp sales reps keep calling offering to improve the business owner's Yelp business listing if the business owner pays them, but they are not interested in removing the insulting, libelous false review, while filtering all the legitimate positive reviews from clients? The last communication I had from the nasty Yelp sales rep was this, when I refused to pay Yelp: "Enjoy your one-star rating".
In all fairness, Yelp can't decide that a false negative review of a business is legitimate without any evidence, in the same sense that they can't decide that a false positive review of a business is legitimate. Obviously, business owners are only going to request false negative reviews be taken down, not false positive reviews. So there does need to be some barrier in place. However, their customer service is basically non existent, and I find it pretty ironic that they tell businesses to "focus on good service" when they don't do that themselves.
Hi Kaylie, since yelp doesn't seem as a reliable source of opinions nowadays, what do you consider to be a reliable website consumers can use for reviews?
That's not a question I feel comfortable answering at this point, as I don't want the integrity of the film to be called into question, stating that I am just making a commercial for another company. There are several major review sites that business owners are quite happy with - I would suggest you ask the owner of one of your favorite shops what they think is a fair and balanced site. There are many, and they are very easy to find.
What have you thought about all the media attention your documentary has gotten so far?
I'm pretty shocked by it all. We are only halfway through production, and it's just Mellissa (my assoc producer) and myself working on this, with contracted help. I certainly never envisioned myself on CNBC!
Have your plans changed at all since the exposure you've received? Has it given you different/clearer/whatever direction to take the film in?
It has been less than a week since all the exposure happened, so it's hard to say at this point. It's funny to think that a week ago today, I was sitting at my computer nervously checking Kickstarter, wondering how I could spread the word more effectively!
Excited to see what you find out, Kaylie. Having worked for numerous businesses in managing their Yelp accounts, it's nice to see someone creating more awareness with the problem of monetary influence on reviews. Do you think that a network of recommendations could solve the issue of reviews? Specifically if these recommendations are not influenced by advertising and if the community also votes on the legitimacy and actual interest of these recommendations?
I think that better transparency could solve the issue of reviews. Meaning, I think identities should be verified. People hide behind their computers and say some pretty awful and hurtful things that can do real damage to a business, knowing full well that they won't be held accountable.
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