WSJ: Local Businesses Losing Reviews After Yelp-Yahoo Deal

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The recent Yelp/Yahoo partnership has angered some local business owners who say years of positive reviews are now gone from their Yahoo Local business listings.

Some of their stories were told this week in the Wall Street Journal, including Colonial Hardwood Flooring of Lexington, Mass. The company says it had built up “six years of mostly positive feedback” on its Yahoo Local listing, but now it only shows one Yelp review that was posted on February 14, 2014.

Colonial Hardwood’s owner tells the WSJ that “it’s a slap in the face that they took all those reviews down overnight.”

And that is literally how things work now.

As the WSJ explains, Yahoo will continue to show its own reviews on a Yahoo Local listing until a business gets a new Yelp review. When that happens, the Yelp reviews replace Yahoo reviews. So the fact that this one Yelp review is so new is what caused the Yahoo reviews to disappear from Colonial Hardwood’s listing.

Fortunately for the flooring company, the one showing from Yelp is a five-star review — other businesses may not be so lucky. But regardless, studies have shown that consumers need to see multiple reviews before they trust what they’re reading. So going from six years of reviews to one review less than two months old probably isn’t a Good Thing, even with it being a five-star review.

Yahoo gave this generic statement to the WSJ:

We partnered with Yelp, one of the most trusted, relevant sources of consumer business reviews, to provide a richer search experience for Yahoo users. That’s why when Yelp’s reviews are available for U.S. businesses, they will replace Yahoo Local reviews.

When Yahoo and Yelp announced their partnership, they clearly said that Yelp reviews would be used on Yahoo Local listings. But it seems that the companies could’ve done a better job of letting local businesses know about the change.

And Colonial Hardwood Flooring may also not know that this same situation is happening on Bing. Bing and Yelp did their local content deal back in 2012, and Yelp reviews (and other content) are populating Bing local listings similarly to Yahoo’s.

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