As a publisher of San Francisco hotel reviews for many years, we found recent news stories pelting Yelp including San Francisco’s East Bay Express to be very interesting. News outlets including the New York Times and LA Times are considering whether there is any relationship between being a Yelp.com advertiser and getting great reviews on the site. We’ve generally found Yelp recommendations to be better than a “blind walk in”, but always view review sites with a jaunted eye. Several San Francisco businesses reported troubling incidents between the advertising sales staff of Yelp.com and what reviews they might / might not receive. Many reports of the connection of advertising sales with reviews continue in San Jose at this news link.
We’ll be clear – accurate, real reviews are what make the Internet so valuable. Whether the Yelp stories are true or not – it only emphasizes how important it is to separate editorial content and business sales operations for web publishers.