ITHACA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) —  A small business owner has watched positive reviews through the service “Yelp” disappear from the site, and it’s not because of poor customer service.

Mikey David’s Barber Shop in Ithaca is well known through word of mouth and online, but owner Joseph David has noticed the service “Yelp” hasn’t been publishing all the reviews for the shop.

“They are almost all good ones being posted but it all good ones being taken down,” David said.

He showed us all the reviews the site has hidden. He has access as the business owner. Almost all of them were five star reviews.

“They said because these reviews don’t fit in the program of their algorithm,” David said. “They said to me it could very well be myself or someone working here posting fake reviews.”

Yelp provided the following statement:

“There has never been any amount of money you can pay Yelp to alter a business’ reviews or rating, and we treat reviews for advertisers and non-advertisers exactly the same. Claims to the contrary have been repeatedly investigated and rejected by government agencies,in multiple courtrooms and by independent scholarly studies. Yelp is a resource for consumers to find trustworthy information about local businesses and the type of experience they might expect from that business. To maintain the trust consumers have in Yelp, we use a proprietary automated recommendation software that is engineered to highlight the most trustworthy and useful reviews by continuously evaluating a number of data points. Reviews that may be solicited, fake, biased or are written by users we just don’t know enough about may be moved to the not recommended section. It is a dynamic process in which recommended reviews can change over time as our software learns more information. While the recommendation software is completely unrelated to whether a business decides to advertise with Yelp, some businesses come to the false conclusion that their decision not to advertise is somehow connected to a change in their reviews. The fact remains that of the many signals our automated software analyzes to provide a reliable and trustworthy rating, advertising simply isn’t one of them. We understand that the recommendation software can be confusing or frustrating for some business owners, but given Mikey David’s Barber Shop’s solid 4.5 star rating and glowing reviews, we would encourage this business owner to focus on their overall rating and not to get caught up on their review count. 4.5 stars is an incredible accomplishment for any business owner and speaks to this business’s focus on great work and customer service! We believe Yelp provides a valuable service for business owners to market themselves based on the reputation they rightfully earn, and we’ve pulled useful tips for them on how to do that effectively in Yelp’s guide to success.”

That guide can be found here

Yelp tells NewsChannel 9 “not recommended” reviews can be seen by scrolling to the bottom of the businesses page. 
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