User-generated content Archives

Reviews Rashomon: Plumber Remembers Yelp Threat That Never Actually Occurred

Tweet Yelp has been accused of manipulating local reviews to “blackmail” business owners into advertising on the site. It’s widely believed that Yelp uses the threat of removing positive reviews as leverage accordingly. Beyond this belief — and related claims in unsuccessful litigation against the company — I have never seen actual evidence that Yelp […]

Nextdoor Moves In on Facebook, Yelp, Craiglist with New Local Services Directory

Tweet Over the past few years, in several conversations with Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia, I’ve discussed with him the site’s various opportunities to make money. Like all good startup CEOs Tolia said that he was focused on building audience engagement and that there were several ways the site could make money over time. In November […]

YP Hires Former InsiderPages CEO As ‘EVP of Consumer Platforms’

Tweet YP has made a really interesting hire. Stu MacFarlane was hired in July (and announced this morning) as the new “Executive Vice President of Consumer Platforms.” MacFarlane was the CEO of InsiderPages before it was sold to IAC years ago. He was also at IdeaLab (among other places), which launched InsiderPages. Here’s how the […]

Beyond Booking: MyTime Is Now a Local Business Management Platform

Tweet MyTime, launched in 2013, was CEO Ethan Anderson’s follow up to RedBeacon, which was sold to HomeDepot. He took some of the same ideas on display in RedBeacon and refined and smartly expanded upon them. MyTime began as a destination local services marketplace with online booking and payments as central but subsidiary features. There […]

Signpost Raises $20.5M More Against Promise of Local CRM, Automation

Tweet Two of the SMB-related sessions at LSA dealt with mobile commerce (booking, payments) and CRM tools for SMBs. In both cases the panel’s consensus was that these capabilities are available are important (to consumers) but most SMBs are still not in a position to adopt them. Signpost is betting that’s not true and that its “automated CRM […]

New Documentary Exhumes Yelp ‘Extortion’ Allegations That Won’t Go Away

Tweet Plaintiffs in multiple lawsuits have unsuccessfully argued that Yelp is a “shake-down” racket that manipulates reviews to encourage SMBs to advertise and punish those that don’t. At the heart of these claims is Yelp’s controversial and often misunderstood “review filter.” Now a new crowdfunded documentary seeks to make the same argument to the broader public. […]

Yelp Sues SMB Reputation Firm for Shady Review Solicitation, Management

Tweet Yelp has sued a company called “Revleap” that says it will deliver 4 or 5 star reviews on Yelp while withholding reviews of three stars or below in “the control center for your quality control.” To many business owners this sounds like the answer to the unending challenge of gaining a steady stream of […]

Google Renames Review Program: ‘City Experts’ Is Now ‘Local Guides’

Tweet Google has renamed its City Experts local reviews program. It’s now called “Local Guides.” To be a part of the program you have to apply (or be currently enrolled), be at least 18 and have a valid Google+ account. Google appears to have gotten rid of the rigid “at least 5 reviews a month” […]

Review Inflation: What Happens When Everyone Has 5 Stars?

Tweet There’s plenty of data that show consumers rely heavily on ratings and reviews to help them make purchase decisions. Dozens of surveys and studies affirm this. Businesses are starting to become much more sophisticated about online reviews as well. They understand the importance of these consumer trends and are increasingly asking customers provide feedback and […]

Reviewers Mostly Positive, 67% on Yelp Are Either 4 or 5 Stars

Tweet There are lots of data about consumer reliance on reviews and the impact of reviews on purchase decisions. Surprisingly, however, there’s not a ton on review distribution or consumer motivations for writing reviews. There’s an “anecdotal” perception in the market that most reviewers are motivated by anger or frustration and that the bulk of reviews accordingly […]