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Businesses are Going Anti-Yelp and It’s Working

by Tom Bowen
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Ever since Internet use became widespread, people have been posting reviews and opinions regarding different businesses or products online. Over time, reading online opinions has become an essential aspect of the shopping experience.

People don’t visit restaurants, hire a service, or attend an event without reading some feedback on platforms like Yelp. While this has made things easier for both customers and businesses, the system isn’t without its faults. Many businesses have started anti-Yelp marketing campaigns, encouraging their clients to leave negative reviews on the platform.

The Reason Behind Anti-Yelp

A large number of businesses believe that faceless online criticism has compromised genuine interactions between clients/guests and business establishments. Instead of approaching the management directly with their problems, customers post online reviews. This limits human interaction and understanding between business establishments and their customers.

The goal is to spread awareness about online reviews and their influence on the industry. Business owners want clients to know how much power they have, encouraging them to use it responsibly. They want customers to consider the concept of second chances, of allowing businesses to learn from their mistakes. No business establishment is perfect so there’s always a chance they’ll mess up, communicating the problem directly to the establishment can help them improve their service without compromising their reputation.

Posting anonymous online feedback might warn other customers of potential problems, but also compromises an establishment’s ability to handle problems. All negative reviews remain on these platforms permanently so even if an establishment moves forward and grows, their reputation is forever compromised. That’s why business owners use the anti-Yelp strategy to help spread awareness.

How Does this Work?

Some establishments encourage visitors to post negative feedback by offering discounts or mentioning it on their menu cards. Others post signs saying “no Yelpers” on their establishment, discouraging people who are inclined to leave reviews on similar platforms. These deliberate negative reviews often take on a comedic tone, with customers mentioning ridiculous reasons for one-star ratings. Most prospective customers immediately recognize the criticisms aren’t genuine and become more interested in an establishment.

This has worked well for many businesses. Most of them agree that online criticisms are an important aspect of their industry. They don’t discourage genuine grievances and don’t want to undermine the importance of criticism. Business owners aren’t looking for ways to shield themselves from online criticism so if a customer is disappointed even after approaching the management, they’re encouraged to leave an online negative review.

While many industry experts support this move, some also caution against it. People trust online reviews and they can help a business bring in more traffic. Compromising their trust in this system can backfire. It’s better for businesses to focus on delivering good services instead of feedback.

Online reviews and related platforms can be a double-edged sword. This system can be abused or manipulated, which is why many businesses feel relying on them isn’t a good idea. While anti-Yelp businesses still browse through negative feedback left on their platform, they encourage customers to approach management with their problems directly. If the management doesn’t resolve the problem after being approached directly, they usually deserve criticism.

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