Fixing Bad Yelp Reviews on Apple Maps

A reader writes:

I own a small business and I am struggling with Yelp. We currently have 12 reviews from reviewers. 10 are positive, 2 are negative. We can easily identify 11 of these reviewers as being real clients of ours. However, Yelp has chosen to “filter” every single one of our positive reviews and none of the negative. When I contact Yelp, they just hide behind that blanket of the “filter software” or whatever. Now, when people use the Apple Maps app, they locate us and immediately beneath our name are the 2 negative Yelp reviews.  It is my opinion that Yelp is only showing the positive reviews of businesses who advertise with them. What can I do? Thoughts?

Negative Yelp reviews are a problem.  Negative Yelp reviews that also show up on Apple Maps make the problem worse as Apple shows the most recent Yelp reviews for your business on the profile screen:

Alberto's Cantina Pleasanton Yelp Review

So even if you are a five-star restaurant, three recent bad reviews can make you look bad on Apple Maps.  Normally I would tell a business that they just need to get some more positive reviews and that will push the bad ones out.  But in the case above where Yelp’s filters are hiding the good reviews, what can you do?  To help figure this out, I consulted Matt Siltala of Avalaunch Media.  Matt is probably one of the top Yelp marketing experts, so what he says, goes.  From Mat:

First she needs to make a page on her website that will drive people to review on Yelp.  Not just have Yelp, but have all main review sites (link directly to them on this page) and then direct her customers to that page to leave reviews – Don’t ask for them to go there and leave a “Yelp” review. … let them pick what place they want.  This way you will get the users of the right groups to leave reviews on the places they use and thus eliminate the chance of them getting filtered.  This will also help distribute the wealth.  I don’t give a rats ass what Yelp says about not doing this.  You are simply showing people where they can review you because you “love” reviews … it is up to the user to leave a review wehre they want.  Yelp is stupid and two faced about their “amazing” review filter and service.  They are gonna do whatever they can to extort the most money out of business owners via their paid programs options (talk about two-faced), so business owners NEED to do all they can to get legit reviews to show up.  This example you share is my point exactly of why this is needed – they need to seek out and find active Yelp users by guiding them.

In short, you need to figure out which customers of yours are active Yelpers.  Then you need to figure out how to get them to write something nice about you on Yelp.  Finding your customers on Yelp shouldn’t be too hard, particularly if you already are connected to them on Facebook.  You’ve got a Facebook strategy right?  You can then use Facebook Connect to connect with your friends/customers on Yelp.  Of course, you could also just search Yelp.

Solving these types of problems is rarely simple, but if those bad reviews are hurting your business, they need to be solved.  Some bedtime reading for you:

Yelp Review Filter Explained
Your Business & Yelp
How To SPAM Yelp 



Join the Conversation


  1. Not a fan of yelp these days. The review filter is turned way to high up and there guidance on review solicitation ensures that negative information surfaces first. I recommend solicitation for Yelp reviews even though its against their guidelines because if a business doesn’t…they are screwed. Just be careful.

  2. I’m with @7cf28bb426d1f902dcefc40ab7898181:disqus on this one.

    Ultimately I think Yelp’s arrogance is going to drive users away. It’s possible the integration with Apple maps will help them avoid this but I’m doubtful.

    When you consider the scarlet letter approach to branding bad actors, it’s great for unethical marketers, right? They’re showing them exactly how to mess with the competition.

    Solicit, yes. Support, no.

    1. It will be interesting to see if that’s the case. I don’t think most people think about how much power Yelp has over businesses. They just like having a place to find all those reviews. Perhaps what will do Yelp in, or at least force it to revise its behavior, is when people stop trusting the reviews, or maybe stop caring about reviews in general. Over time there will be so many alternatives to a review and so many alternative reviews to Yelp’s. I can’t remember the last time I felt like I needed to consult Yelp about something.

  3. I want to know why apple maps is showing my Yelp listing in the first place. Is Yelp really the most reliable source for a business location?

  4. I had a similar experience this evening where I went to a Cold Stone Creamery in Springfield which had 2 1 star ratings, including 1 from someone who had very clearly never BEEN to the location being reviewed. And on top of that, Yelp just excluded my review because I’m not important enough to them.

    So gross. Apple should pull yelp off their maps. That’s just disgusting.

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