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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 Keith Shetterly on November 16, 2011 at 2:08pm

AJ, you crack me up!  Thanks for the chuckle and smile, my friend.

Comment by Aj Maida on November 16, 2011 at 1:59pm

Try doing the marketing for a restaurant and dealing with Yelp!!!! Look, Yelps filtering actually is very simple. If they are not "Yelpers" then Yelp filters them 90% of the time. So when you ask for a review; if they don't use Yelp ask them to go somewhere else. We need to drive our customers to the places where they belong. If the have a Google account ask for a Google review. Yahoo, send them to Yahoo. No account send them to DealerRater. We have built a "Rate Us" page on both our website and our mobile site to make it easier for them (scan the QR code in my avatar). Hopefully they will find your reviews other places then Yelp. If that doesn't work pray they are using a Droid!!!!!

Comment by Keith Shetterly on November 16, 2011 at 1:04pm

I guess I see this a lot simpler.  Yelp/Siri is positioned as a possible answer to the looming Android + Google Places (whatever the next iteration is . . . around Google+) review push.  Which I like a lot better.  Respectfully, Ralph, I just have a lot of heartburn with these review systems that need us to help them by getting more folks to use them (review restaurants as well as dealers, and so on).  For dealers, in some ways these review sites are as big and important as we want to make them, and the more we advise dealers to use them the bigger they will get.  If a review happens in the forest of the Greater Internet, does anybody read it?  Case in point, to me, is your example World Hyundai.  To support your position here, and about Yelp in general for dealers, I'd have to understand that Yelp is a greater negative/positive impact, and needs to distract from, the many other reputation efforts which that dealership does--well, the rating on Yelp for this dealer . . . my judgement from the success they have is that helping Yelp here does not help them.


As well, if you can do your robot.txt magic here so that this thread doesn't possibly index to the dealer's SERP1, much appreciated.



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