Yelp Gives Consumers Freedom
Yelp is an online review site that allows people to leave 1-5 star reviews and comments on businesses like restaurants and other services. Because anyone can access yelp, either to submit reviews or to read them, consumers now have more freedom of choice. Rather than having to rely on paid reviewers who write for news sites, yelp users can now make informed decisions based off what consumers like them experienced. This is especially helpful for consumers when trying to choose businesses to perform services like car repair because prior to yelp there was no mainstream platform to read reviews for those types of services. With Yelp achieving over 148 million users in 2017, it may be at its most influential point yet.
However, while Yelp may assist consumers, it often hinders businesses. Users on Yelp are more likely to voluntarily review a business if they had a negative experience. Thus, there can be a negative review bias on yelp. And while businesses have been trying to resolve this issue, Yelp’s Don’t Ask policy is allowing the negative review bias to persist. The policy lowers a business’ ranking in the Yelp search results if Yelp suspects they are asking customers for reviews. Prior to the policy’s institution, asking customers for reviews after they were serviced was the most effective way to combat negative reviewer bias.
The Don’t Ask policy can actually hurt reviewers as well. Yelp is a website intended to provide consumers with reviews from other consumers so that they make an informed decision. Yet, Yelp’s negative review bias may skew a consumer’s perspective about a certain business, meaning that they may make a less informed decisions after consulting Yelp reviews. The Don’t Ask policy prevents businesses from counteracting the review bias present on yelp and thus the Don’t Ask policy can prevent consumers from making more informed decisions.