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Yelp Reputation Management for Car Dealers; What Are Filtered Reviews?

Automotive Reputation Management; How Yelp Review Filtering Works and Why it Effects Car Dealers.

Yelp has come under criticism because of their "Filtered Review" process which takes certain reviews, mostly those from Yelp users who are not deemed trustworthy, and moves those reviews into a "Filtered Reviews" section, thus removing them from appearing on the dealer's profile page... When this happens to bad reviews, we cheer the process as a good one, but when our 5 star reviews get moved into Yelp's "Filtered Reviews" section, we generally curse the ba*&$%#@ at Yelp and scream foul!


With the introduction of the new Apple iPhone 4S and its extraordinary adoption rate, the use of Apple's embedded application known as "Siri" will have an immediate and growing impact on Automotive Reputation Management for Car Dealers... For example, I am looking at World Hyundai of Matteson's Yelp reviews and found that 32 of their Yelp reviews had been moved into the Yelp "Filtered Reviews" section, tus removing them from World Hyundai's Yelp profile page.


Since at least 25 of those Yelp Reviews were "Five Star", this filtering process has adversely impacted World Hyundai's overall reputation as it appears within Yelp.  Here's a link to see what I am referencing:


Now, let me make something very clear...

I know the owners and have observed the way World Hyundai of Matteson operates and can sincerely state that they may do a better job of treating their sales and service customers properly than any other Hyundai dealership in America.  The entire Word Hyundai of Matteson team is VERY focused on managing the way they treat their customers so that they get the best possible levels of customer satisfaction, referrals, repeat business and reviews.  This is evidenced by viewing the World Hyundai of Matteson Reviews website at and then comparing that "Official Word Hyundai Reviews Site" to their Yelp Business Profile which has been negatively impacted by Yelp's Filtered Reviews process, and is visible at


In my opinion, which is based on having seen this situation on several occasions, the most prudent approach is NOT to slam Yelp for their Filtered Review system, nor is it wise to ignore the way Yelp functions in regards to their handling of dealership reviews... The right thing for dealers, including my friends at several dealerships that have their best Yelp reviews getting moved into the Yelp Filtered Reviews section, is to understand how the Yelp systems operate and manage the process for encouraging customers who are existing Yelp users to post their reviews on Yelp.


First of all, a dealer should invest the nominal fee that is required to get a Yelp Enhanced Profile, which I covered in an earlier blog about yelp.  Secondly, here a few "Best practices" for Yelp Reviews that i have seen work for the dealers who use them:

  1. Ask your customers who post Yelp Reiews for your dealership to be sure to post reviews for other businesses they have used.
  2. Make sure your customers complete their profile setups and include a photo of their faces for the profile image
  3. Customer who post reviews for dealers on Yelp should log into their Yelp account within the first 3 days after posting their review and take any action, such as requesting friends, checking into another business using the Yelp mobile app, etc.


I know this sounds like a lot of work, but what is your dealership's reputation worth to the millions of people who may soon be using the new Apple iPhone 4S or the upcoming 5 and who will also be using Siri to check on dealership reputation, which relies on Yelp?


So, how does Yelp explain their Filtered Reviews process and the criteria which determines whether a review is placed on the dealership's profile page, or instead moved into Filtered Reviews?  Let's take a look... Down near the bottom, I inserted a YouTube video from Yelp that further explains exactly how the Yelp Filtered Reviews process works and why Yelp implemented it. 


The following explanation of Filtered Reviews is directly from Yelp:

Review Filter

  • What are filtered reviews?

    We try to showcase the most helpful and reliable reviews among the millions that are submitted to the site. Not all reviews make the cut, and those that don't are posted to a separate "Filtered Review" page. Filtered reviews don't factor into a business's overall star rating, but users can still read them by clicking on the link at the bottom of the business's profile page.
  • How do you decide which reviews to filter?

    We use filtering software to determine which reviews should be filtered on any given day among the millions that are submitted to the site. The software looks at a wide range of data associated with every review. We invite you to watch this short video for more detail about how it all works.
  • Why was this particular review filtered?

    We intentionally make the filter difficult to reverse engineer — otherwise, we would be overrun by reviews written by people hoping to game the system. So while it may be tough to decipher how the filter works, the rules are actually the same for every business and every review.
  • Is the filter ever wrong?

    The filter sometimes affects perfectly legitimate reviews and misses some fake ones, too. After all, legitimate reviews sometimes look questionable, and questionable reviews sometimes look legitimate. We think the filter does a good job given the sheer volume of reviews and the difficulty of its task, but it doesn't really matter what we think — consumers will only use Yelp if we do a good job of showcasing the most helpful and reliable reviews.
  • Will you reinstate a legitimate review that was filtered?

    The filter continually reevaluates its decisions based on the information at hand. As a result, it's fairly common to see reviews come and go as the filter picks up new information. Either way, business owners should probably focus less on any one review and more on their entire body of reviews. Reviewers, in turn, should contribute to the site and give the filter a chance to get to know them over the long-term.
  • Does the filter only target positive reviews?

    No. The software applies the same analysis to everyone. It sometimes affects more positive reviews simply because Yelp users write more positive reviews in the first place. In other cases, it affects positive reviews that appear to have been solicited by business owners (a practice which may seem like a good way to generate more reviews, but which tends to create an unintentional bias). In any event, the filter affects both positive and negative reviews — feel free to check out a random sampling of businesses listed on Yelp to see for yourself.
  • Does the filter favor Yelp advertisers or punish the others?

    No. Businesses cannot pay for favorable treatment. You'll find plenty of Yelp advertisers with negative reviews, and any number of non-advertisers with five-star ratings across the board. The filter doesn't punish non-advertisers, either. Feel free to check out the many highly rated businesses on Yelp that choose not to advertise on Yelp.
  • Why don't you just scrap the filter altogether and let every review count on its own merits?

    We realized early on that some reviews were going to be better — and more reliable — than others. The filter establishes an objective standard against which every review can be measured. Even though it inevitably affects legitimate reviews from time to time and misses some fake ones, too, it helps protect the integrity of the site both for consumers (who will be less likely to be led astray by bogus reviews) and business owners (who will spend less time worrying about whether their competitors are writing negative reviews about them). We'd rather people think of Yelp as a source for reliable information from passionate and opinionated consumers than a platform for every single rant and rave.


Views: 1365

Tags: Automotive Reputation Management, Car Dealers, Filtered Reviews, Reputation Management, Yelp


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Comment by Ralph Paglia on November 17, 2011 at 12:17am

If you play the Yelp Video in the blog post and scroll down to see the Keith Shetterly Bonehead, you will see they are synchronized!

Comment by Keith Shetterly on November 16, 2011 at 7:04pm










A Bonehead for you, Ralph.  :)



Comment by Ralph Paglia on November 16, 2011 at 6:48pm

Keith, I did not call you a bonehead... That would have looked something like "Dear Keith, you are a bonehead..." or similar... However, there are people (NOT YOU!) who I would call a bonehead, to their face or otherwise for some of the inane opinions they express.  So, stop being such a bonehead and realize that I did not call you a bonehead!!!

Comment by Keith Shetterly on November 16, 2011 at 6:42pm

Ralph, I laughed right out loud at that.  :)   And are you calling me a bonehead???  Let me take a minute and tell you just how much I enjoy this community.  It's brought me a lot of enlightenment and knowledge I wouldn't have gotten elsewhere.


By the way, I once sold 10 acres of land I owned in San Angelo, Texas, to pay for some bills in college.  Ten years later, no kidding, it became part of a development.  Ugh.  :)

Comment by Ralph Paglia on November 16, 2011 at 6:33pm

Keith, I welcome your commentary, whether you agree with me or anybody else, or not... In fact, the most useful posts are the ones that generate discussions and a variety of differing pinions.  Do i think some people are just plain boneheads... Yup.  But, I respect their opinions for the simple fact that they took the time to express a thought by posting it to our community.  If we all agreed on everything, think how boring this business would be.


Not only that, but I am very aware of my potential to be wrong... I once turned down the job of becoming the first General Manager of the first Lexus dealership in San Diego, saying to the owner, "Who the heck is going to pay $30,000 for a Toyota with extra chrome on it?"


Yup... I know about making mistakes!

Comment by Keith Shetterly on November 16, 2011 at 5:25pm

AJ, yes, you amuse me, because I can always hear your voice and your presentation, which is always loud and clear--and often humorous.  Hopefully, that wasn't offensive that I found your directness funny and pleasant.


As to Yelp, I'm not a believer that a site that seeks, more or less, committed reviewers in their community is a right direction.  If the customer is a "yelper" that's one thing.  I'm not going to create one for them.


As I wrote, if somebody can show me that World Hyundai lost business from the difference in the ratings, I'll listen.  It's not education I need on Yelp or the filtering.  It's an answer to "Why do I want to help yet another reviewing site become prominent in the auto vertical."


Ralph and I, and I'm sure others, would differ strongly on Yelp for dealers.


Hope that explained it!

Comment by Aj Maida on November 16, 2011 at 5:01pm

Keith ... funny I amuse you???...

There it is from the mouth of Ralph for about the one millionth time comes the useful advise....

"go to school on Yelp and figure out how to make it work the way you want it to work."

Sell a car...go on Yelp and punch in the customers name...If they have reviews posted there then ask them to give you one; if they don't guide them to somewhere else...this is where we got into trouble at the restaurant...before doing our homework we asked people to review us on Yelp...they didn't have Yelp accounts so the reviews got caught up in the filter...were they legitimate reviews...Yes; but this is how the filter works...learn how to work within it!!!! Go to school!!! Great thread Ralph!!!

Comment by Keith Shetterly on November 16, 2011 at 4:09pm

Ralph, I promise never to complain about Yelp's filtering!  :)  

Comment by Ralph Paglia on November 16, 2011 at 3:39pm

Keith - I am not suggesting that dealers should make Yelp their primary focus... Absolutely not, but I do believe we all have the ability to handle more than one assignment as part of any project, strategy or mission.  If there are a ton of people using Siri and they are added to the millions of people that are avid Yelp users, then it would make sense to get enough reviews posted onto Yelp by customers who may already be Yelp users, so that when Siri is used, the dealership is selected by the Siri algorithm, which is currently based on Yelp Reviews more than anything else so far. 


The other issue that I stated in my blog is simply that Yelp's Review Filter has caused problems for dealers, so let's figure it out and learn how to avoid those problems from occurring in the first place.  My whole point is that competency matters... Yup, if you are going t do something... learn how to do it right!


So, if you don't like how Yelp is representing your dealership (or restaurant), or you don't like how some customer reviews are not showing up on your Yelp profile... then go to school on Yelp and figure out how to make it work the way you want it to work... OR, shut up and quit complaining about it.

Comment by Kim Clouse on November 16, 2011 at 3:19pm
At risk of running a commercial without my friend Ralph's permission
but certified customer reviews are only available from one place I am aware of. The extra work
that never gets done is also unnecessary.

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