Local Search Expert
LocalU Member
Oct 23, 2017
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Hey everyone,

I had something really unique happen to me over the weekend.

I have a customer who pays almost 4k/month to Yelp (yes he gets a return) for advertising. As we know... Yelp deleted a ton of reviews in its "Ghost" update in November.

This customer called Yelp on Friday, expressed his continued frustration with Yelp filtering legit customer reviews, threatened to pull his advertising, and mentioned the documentary "Billion Dollar Bully".

Over the weekend, he had 7 reviews reinstated. His aggregate score went from 4.5 to 5.0. This is the first time I've seen this happen.

I've attached two screenshots taken from today:
  1. One is a screenshot of what Google has indexed today.
  2. The other is what his Yelp profile has changed to this morning.

I'm wondering if Yelp has implemented (or has always had) a manual step in review verification. I believe this to be an isolated scenario as I've checked other people I know who were 100% hit. I'm still trying to figure that out.

Does anyone have any information that might help shed some more light into this situation?

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Screen Shot 2019-06-17 at 4.23.58 PM.png


Local Search Expert
LocalU Member
Oct 23, 2017
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@Colan Nielsen Update—So I asked him three questions:
  1. Did you specifically ask for the reviews to be reinstated?
  2. Were the reviews from customers that came from the ads?
  3. How did you reference the documentary?
He didn't ask for the reviews to be reinstated specifically, moreso said, "I think you guys were just trying to level the playing field by removing my reviews so my competitors would be more interested in advertising. The Billion Dollar Bullys at work again."

Something like that, I'm not positive I agree w/ the sentiment.

He doesn't know if the reinstated reviews were from ads customers. This loosely seems to hint that there is some kind of manual process for reinstating filtered reviews. This is something I would love to know for sure, esp. if it's reserved for advertising customers vs. non-advertising customers.

Oh the questions I wished the documentary would've asked.
Last edited:


Jul 17, 2013
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I follow yelp reviews very closely. I monitor each and every one, because yelp reviews have so much value. I was also hit with lost reviews at the end of last year. What I noticed from some lost reviews, that came back. Some of these people stopped being active on yelp, they then reviewed a couple of other business's recently. My prediction is that the persons status went from inactive to active. This triggered reviews left by them to show up. I also think that yelp relaxed the filter a little bit. Sometimes an event, like a call to yelp is a correlation vs causation. And then again, yelp is a bully, and you never know what is behind the curtain.

Tony Wang

Oct 13, 2014
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@valesence those are good observations and match what I see. I have a client that spends good money on yelp, complained about a particular review that seemed quite irrelevant (after submitting twice for review) and was still turned down. The account rep said he was unable to help and specifically said reviews were kept quite distinct from anything he had access to. Of course, that's just one particular instance, and in general I don't like how they operate.

But I also saw several competitors who advertise, and also lost TONS of reviews last fall. So at least it was somewhat equitable :)
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