Is Yelp Manipulating Its User Reviews?

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Big Money writer Paul Smalera got a slew of complaints after publishing a story that praised Yelp as the new wave of advertising and an admirable model of business-to-customer interaction. Today, he addresses them in a follow-up article that admits that yes, the site does have some problems, but theyre not as sinister as jilted reviewers and businesses would have you believe. Youve heard the complaints before: Yelp employs high-pressure sales tactics (thats just business, says Smalera), positive ratings disappear when a business declines to advertise on Yelp (impossible to prove, and perhaps owing to Yelps flawed automatic-moderation tool), and accurate reviews are sometimes deleted (again, an honest mistake). Smalera points out that though Yelp has been criticized for being secretive about its ranking methodology, its no more so than Google. Any Yelpers or restaurateurs care to weigh in?

Yelp and Its Discontents [Big Money]