This is a quick and dirty post, something I seem to be a fan of.
They are discontinuing the sponsored business listing “favorite review” feature which confuses the most complex of knuckleheads….. but they are also releasing their incredibly fault algorithm’s hold on hidden reviews. Instead of trying to *HELP* the user by engaging them with relevant, meaningful reviews, they are suspending the algorithm’s effort in hiding meaningless reviews. AKA – a whole bunch of shill positive or ridiculous negative reviews are going to pop up and appear on profiles; the funniest part is that business owners asked for it. Now people are going to be swamped and blindsided by a slur campaign or their old, mistaken reviews coming out of nowhere.
I think it’s interesting, in a lot of ways. It raises a lot of questions. One being:
Does this invalidate the contractual business agreement that yelp has with businesses?
I think what Yelp did was a smart move…. and if it didn’t save them from future semantic web issues, it will help usher in a simpler era where the USER has to be intelligent enough to engineer their own filtering process. I will actively pray that people aren’t so stupid that they can’t tell the difference between a helpful, earnest review vs. a rant or missive that has more to do with a blind date than the establishment.
But in the end, the real shake up isn’t for end users…. it’s for businesses. If you are a business that is a Yelp sponsor, you might want to ask what happens to your agreement, or sponsorship, once the changes take effect. I am not saying it was world altering, but having random reviews pop up before your chosen favorite might be a big deal for businesses that are honest.
If you are a Yelp business, I would love to hear if this is a concern for you?
If you are just a hospitality person, I would love to hear your thoughts. Basically, this is beyond the right move for yelp (like they might be reading my blog). But this will cause some short term road bumps to sponsorship that could help to implode the young 2.0 company not prepared for the openness of the 3.0 semantic web that everyone keeps referencing.
This is a huge decision for Yelp, and certainly a long term one.
Whatever their internal reasoning, the short term effects will be very important to pay attention to. If you don’t hear of this in the next couple days, Yelp very well might be getting to big to fail. If their management is able to make responsible and far sighted decisions like this, there’s no reason it should.