Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Very upset a Yelp

I was one of the best supporters of Yelp. Yelp statistically represents 40% of our reservations and have used it extensively over the course of the past 4 years not only to find the best restaurants but more importantly to keep a forever improving eye on our family owned operation.

As you may know by now, the efforts that we did put into our Mountain view location were, to say the least, nerve racking, from the physical efforts to put the place up to par to copy, adjusting and pasting the processes we learned from our san jose location...our mission was pretty simple, to hit the ground running and we did count on yelp to help us spread the word that we indeed strive to ensure that every single one of our guests is having an exotic culinary experience and care about them....we are genuinely excited to share with them a complete different culture!!!

We just celebrated our first month in business and god i was remembering all these happy guests that were hitting me with rounds of: "We were waiting for you in Mountain view", "You are here to last", "You are the only venue that has exciting live entertainment", my reply was pretty much consistent: Your comments mean a lot to me and really a source of happiness that keep us going despite slow nights!! please write a review for us on yelp.

The typical Yelper in my book is meticulous, enjoys a pleasant dining experience and is open minded. It is true that we do strive on bad reviews but the truth of the matter is that we have always been able to have more happy guests than upsets ones!!!

So here i am checking the reviews on regular basis, not only on yelp but other review sites as well. We have been consistently scoring an average of 4 out of 5 in all the others but Yelp has a mediocre 2.5 stars?! I took the time one night to pay close attention to the reviews and noticed at the bottom that some reviews have been filtered, 27 of them to be exact, i saw a video on the yelp web site explaining how Yelp filters reviews to ensure that only the legitimate ones are kept following a mathematical algorithm that is "secret"...I was really surprised that out of the 27 filtered reviews: 26 were 5 star reviews and 1 was a 1 star review!!!

Where is the fairness in this system where i was the one serving pretty much each and every single of those reviewers that gave us 5 star reviews?

I understand now these phone calls from Yelp headquarters inviting me to pay $300 a month for me to be featured in, i do not want to even think that the filtration is an extra incentive for our family owned operation to use their services...

When i called the headquarters, i spoke to a gentleman that comforted me and said that most of those reviews will find their way back within the next 3 weeks and suggested for me to place my advertisement $$ with them...My response: let's talk about this in 3 weeks where my legitimate reviews are finding their way back!

This episode reminded me of the actual impact of how the way information is presented to us can be misleading...What is actually filtered out of all the information we are exposed to everyday to make our day to day decisions?

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