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Yelp Filters More Reviews in 2012 Than 2011

March 7, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — Despite complaints from car dealers and other businesses, Yelp filtered more business reviews in 2012 than in the previous year.

According to its annual 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company filtered 24.75 percent, or 8.1 million, of its 36 million cumulative reviews; 25.1 million were unfiltered and appeared on the business pages, and 2.7 million were removed altogether by Yelp. In the previous year, the site’s filter captured only 22 percent, or 7.4 million, of its 33.3 million reviews.

“Filtered reviews do not factor into a business’ overall star rating and are segregated from unfiltered reviews,” Yelp explained in its SEC filing.

Consistent with 2011, automotive reviews accounted for 4 percent of Yelp’s reviewed businesses — placing it in the top nine industries reviewed. Shopping and restaurants remained key talking points for the site, making up 23 and 21 percent, respectively, of all reviews. Automotive, though, was mentioned as one of Yelp’s five top national brand advertisers; other top marketed industries were financial services, logistics, consumer goods and health/fitness.

“We realized early on that some reviews were going to be better — and more reliable — than others,” read a statement on Yelp’s site. “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.”

In its SEC filing, Yelp shared other plans to further solidify its name within the automotive vertical. It said it will continue “to innovate and introduce our content and solutions on new platforms and distribution channels such as automobile navigation systems, web-enabled televisions and voice-enabled mobile devices.

“For example, Yelp-branded content has been incorporated into Mercedes and Lexus in-vehicle infotainment systems,” Yelp continued. “We also have relationships with several companies like Microsoft Corporation and Apple Inc. to make our content and solutions available on its website and consumer devices, respectively.”

— Stephanie Forshee

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