The reality of Yelp and other review systems

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Agent Reputation
https://activerain.com/droplet/5ft7

I just posted an article on how to get negative Yelp reviews removed. I then read all of the responses up till now and some of them trashed Yelp. I decided to write up a post to share with the group.

1) Yelp wants ACTIVE Yelpers to be organically motivated to leave reviews. This is why you never send out a blast to the multitudes asking for Yelp reviews because their “Gate Keeper” algorithm will see a cluster of reviews coming in within a short period of time, which tells them you sent out a blast. They don’t like that. It’s not to say you can’t ask people for Yelp reviews one on one, but they have to be ACTIVE Yelpers.

2) Yelp knows when new consumer accounts are created. It knows 5 minutes later a Yelp review was left from a new account, never to be heard from again. This is also to protect you from haters, consumers you never did business with or ex-employees.

3) You can’t game the system. Just getting friends and leaving 20 reviews, if done over a short period of time will not qualify that person as an active Yelper. Too much, too soon. And do you think asking your client to jump through a bunch of hoops just so that their review will be on top respects their time? An active Yelper not only has a profile image and friends, but they need the Yelp app on their phone. They need a history of checking in from businesses like restaurants and leaving reviews over a period of time. Once Yelp sees a credible history, that review they placed under the line may be moved to the active section. I am an active Yelper.

4) The Yelp conspiracy is a nothingburger. There were a number of over zealous sales people back in the day that would lead you to believe if you did not buy their advertising, your good reviews would be pushed down. That was never company policy. Some still try the pitch from time to time but you need to call their bluff and report them. The FTC investigated and took no action. And there are ways to get bad Yelp reviews removed as noted in an article I pointed out above.

5) You can hate Yelp but you really need to embrace Yelp. Sure you can choose not to establish a Yelp page for your business and focus on other review systems, but it can also be a major source for leads. I know many agents that get leads regularly from Yelp. And if you acquire a good amount of Yelp reviews, that is the time to advertise. And, Yelp uses the gold star system which helps in making your online reviews look more rounded.

6) Claim your Yelp or Google account. If you have not established a Yelp business page or Google business page, sometimes they create them on their own from business license databases. I am not a fan of this at all because people can still leave reviews on unclaimed business pages. You can always get them removed but it is better to claim them, add accurate information and be proactive to get 5 star reviews.

7) Google is great. It is safe to assume if the largest search engine in the world has a review system, you should probably pay attention to it. Make sure people write out a full review and not just leave a star rating. The more experiential content the better. Same goes with Yelp. They rate the reviews on experiential content and the amount of words used. If you do not have a Google business page, go here to create one. This places you in the Google business directory and you could wind up in the “three pack” on page one of Google for Realtor search results.

8) Google has a gate keeper as well. If the individual signs up for Google+ just to leave you a review and is never heard from again, the review might get ghosted or moved down the list. Organics is important.

9) Facebook has a gold star system that will show up in the search results. Just about everybody has a Facebook account and it is usually active on their phone or computer. Facebook is always the fallback if your clients are not Yelpers or Google members. In addition, it’s harder to leave fake reviews on Facebook.

10) If you are a Zillow Premier Agent and/or buying leads and you don’t have a competitive amount of Zillow reviews for your market, you are not the shiny penny.

11) Be proactive. I know of agents that prep the buyer/seller for future reviews in the beginning of their relationships. As in, (paraphrasing), “when we get this done I am going to ask you to leave me some online reviews” and then asking again while the client is doing the happy dance at the conclusion of the transaction. That’s pretty much it. I figured it would be easier to write in a post vs just responding to the comments in my last post.

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Rainmaker
3,977,717
William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I don't want any comments on my listing by the public...

Sep 26, 2018 08:09 PM #1
Rainmaker
2,426,359
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I am reminded (years ago) of the time I got booted out of yelp...It came out of nowhere & the parting arrow was I violated their small print. This was/is a negative leading by example lesson. Swift punitive action on a consumer inviting site is a forked tongue at work. My time is important too and there is no small print conditions on it either. 

Sep 27, 2018 06:30 PM #2
Rainmaker
3,766,636
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good evening CJ Hays,

What an awesome post! Thank you for the detailed explanation on how Yelp works as well as other review systems. Great advice on navigating the system and why we need to embrace Yelp.

Sep 27, 2018 06:35 PM #3
Rainmaker
2,736,242
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I’ve seen a lot of fake reviews And I do have a friend who has been asked to write fake reviews. It’s really a shame. That’s just one of the things that we now have to look out for

Sep 27, 2018 11:49 PM #4
Rainmaker
2,736,242
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I would say that it works pretty well compared to other things as I was just saying, Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR

Sep 27, 2018 11:51 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,406,085
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

This is interesting information about Yelp and Google. I claimed a google business page but have done nothing with it because they won't let me use my business email address as a contact. I had set up a gmail email years ago and I never use it and they won't let me change it to my real email address. A little frustrating but when I get some time, I'll see if I can resolve that.

Sep 28, 2018 04:04 AM #6
Rainmaker
2,944,646
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

I see some of our local big companies with lots of reviews.... all from their own agents

Sep 28, 2018 09:30 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,462,316
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I am a fan of yelp and use it a lot when searching for businesses.  I just like to participate and don't expect to get business myself, but perhaps I should change that attitude.

Sep 28, 2018 12:33 PM #8
Rainmaker
139,715
Suzanne Cutler
Success! Real Estate - Braintree, MA
617-549-5829, Braintree MA, Realtor, Real Estate

I don't use yelp myself so thank you for explaining how it works.

I was called for a listing appointment and they mentioned they found me because of my yelp review.    And yes, I did get the listing.

Sep 28, 2018 08:40 PM #9
Rainmaker
424,706
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Thanks for the info. I have not done anything with Yelp, because in general I have found their reviews worthless! Maybe I am missing something, but the reviews I read of other things on Yelp seem to be mostly negative! I have always thought of it as a place people go to Bitch about things. I gave up reading their reviews several years ago! I would like to hear your thoughts on the value of Yelp

Sep 29, 2018 05:15 AM #10
Rainmaker
436,837
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

This is a hot button in Home Inspection circles for sure. Lots of issues with sellers that leave bad reviews when they weren't even the client. Hard to get removed. I've not had to deal with a bogus one but if I did, I try and just bury them with legit real reviews. 

Sep 29, 2018 05:32 AM #11
Rainmaker
497,435
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

My Yelp reviews have brought me new customers--it's important to have a presence there but you are correct--a client can't just create an account to leave a review. I read your previous blog too--very helpful!

Oct 01, 2018 01:57 PM #12
Rainmaker
132,894
Mike Baltierra
Rise Realty - Eastvale, CA
Full Service at Your Service Realtor-Eastvale CA

That's alot of good information. Appreciate it. Yelp is very interesting.

Nov 02, 2018 07:28 AM #14
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CJ Hays

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