A call for Yelp

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You've heard of "Yelp", right? It's a website where people go to review restaurants and other businesses, including woodworking shops.

On the surface, it seems like establishing a presence on Yelp would be a good way to get online attention without a big investment.

But, as with most things, there's more here than meets the eye. For starters, there seems to be little in the way of vetting the reviews for accuracy. Basically anyone can say anything about your business and once it's posted, it's there forever. So a disgruntled client or even just someone with an ax to grind can post unfavorable comments about your business and there is nothing you can do about it.

Experienced users have claimed that Yelp, which is a business supported by advertising, can manipulate reviews, giving negative comments a low ranking and good ones a higher ranking based on the advertising budget of the company in question. A recent court ruling established that there is nothing illegal about Yelp charging whatever it wants for advertising. Fair enough. But many have experienced an upturn in unfavorable ratings after declining to buy ads.

Yelp has vehemently denied this practice. But many have seen significant improvements in their rankings after agreeing to pay for ads and vice versa. Coincidence? Maybe not. I'm thinking that one should approach such online venues with a bit of caution.

Has anyone used Yelp to promote a woodworking business? I’m curious to know how it’s worked for you.

D.D.

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