There’s a consensus in the auto shipping community (and other industries that are service-based) that Yelp reviews are incorrectly prioritized and filtered. But this is not new. There are various instances of complaints, and even news reports . Back in 2015, it was a disappointment to many that FTC closed their case against Yelp without any action. But the complaints keep-a-coming. In the thousands to the FTC.
It is such a concern in the Auto Transport Industry that some of the most dominant players known to be highly reputable have written articles on their own websites explaining the problems that occur with auto transport reviews featured on Yelp.
Montway which is at this point possibly the largest auto shipper in the nation, dedicated an entire article on their own site explaining that positive reviews are being suppressed and how they are criticized for it.
Founder and president Mike Rupers from Direct Express Auto Transport which is also a huge industry player has been directly outspoken about Yelp being “pay to play“, citing with a large consensus that Yelp gives preferential filtering of auto shipping reviews to paying advertisers. He also shows what very much looks like is a fake review and also published it on the company blog.
Ship a Car Inc. also chimes in with their own frustrations with Yelp stating “…..the average consumer reading the Yelp reviews, more often than not, has no idea that this algorithm even exists nor the fact that it suppresses positive reviews.”
Roadrunner Auto Transport did the same type of post late last year. They state what they we all agree with: “Yelp is extremely strict and vigilant with removing positive reviews. They rarely filter and remove negative reviews.”
In trying to defend ourselves as well, we put up our own at National Express. We feature it on our review page as well.
The Not Recommended Are Also Arranged to Show Negatives First
What’s even more terrible kick in the face about these reviews is that the “not recommended” section shows you the few bad reviews first then the good ones!
So it’s a double whammy for anyone that accidentally relies on Yelp or thinks they are accurate. They first see these few one star reviews ”not recommended” until they get to the many positive ones.
It doesn’t take more than a simple search for you to find so many people complaining constantly about what that has done to their business.
Bad Reviews Must be Real, Good Ones Must be Fake
This is really the biggest trend you see with the reviews for auto shipping companies on Yelp. It’s normally granted a free pass if it’s a one star review most of the time.
Their little video on how their “amazing algorithm” works specifically talks about how they don’t want people boasting false reviews to make their company look better than it really is. However, one Yelper states this feature Yelp has filtered 67% of reviews, (and of course mostly good ones.)
Yelp is Not Designed for Off Site Services to Begin With and Appears is Even Harsher on Them
Yelp is location based. They verify you most of the time by your physical location. When you go to a coffee shop or a restaurant, Yelp knows exactly what you’re doing. They see you take a picture, the picture has GPS, your phone has GPS, you’re obviously sitting there. If you take a picture of the ugliest shrivled steak you’ve ever received and you post it from there, then yeah, you are having dinner there.
With service-based businesses, especially those that the customer does not show up or check in, it’s a lot harsher when it’s time to validate you.
I’ve noticed most service based businesses have the same argument about Yelp. Of course, restaurants do too. Coffee shops do too.. But it is very prevalent in service-based businesses that are usually the ones most upset.
So in that aspect, the “bad review must be real and a good review must be fake“ is most prevalent, besides that they filter out the non-advertisers.
I also believe that service based businesses represent such a small bit of their numbers they also will not care to help with these any time soon. Reviews about auto shippers make it to that pile.
But what they also don’t care to realize is that their (intentionally or unintentionally) faulty system is causing serious harm to the livelihoods of hard working people that provide jobs and have families of their own.
So since plumbers, mechanics, A/C repairman, auto shipping companies, are this “minuscule” review group in comparison, it’s not worth their time.
Can’t Ask for Reviews But Does It Matter?
Yelp does not want you to ask for reviews. Everyone else has a link that you can email people that takes them right to your profile so they can write about you.
But truthfully, I don’t think that matters. Because customers tell us are going to leave us reviews all the time and they rarely pick that website. I really don’t know who uses them. Down here in Florida, I used to see their signs on doorways of restaurants all the time. Now what I see is Uber and Postmates.
I know of people who at one point used them a lot but now don’t find it useful any longer. I don’t especially see many millennials doing it either around here at least. Which may be a good sign for the future.
So maybe it’s just because of where I am in the country but at least our customers don’t tend to really use that platform a lot. So for example, we will have auto shipping reviews on one website that total to about 70 or more, another one will have a dozen more than that, and then yelp has like 10.
No end to Yelp in Sight
Trust me, I keep looking for news stating that yelp is in trouble. Like their stock is plummeting, their business is falling apart, whatever. You know what, right now it’s not. They are even getting into food delivery which further proves that this is not their niche so they need to get out.
Yelp Needs to Exit these Niches
The first thing you see on the top of the website now he is talk about food delivery. Which further demonstrates what their niche is. Restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.
For example, I know our company. We do awesome work. We’re not perfect every time, we don’t get it right every time, nobody does. But we do try our best and you can’t possibly BS all the other sites that have great reviews talking about us with a minimum of maybe 4 1/2 stars everywhere except of course Yelp.
Site is Strong For the Wrong Niches and Needs Google, Bing to Step In
You can bet that if you ask someone where they would look for something like a mover or auto transporter, they would not say Yelp. However, since they appear near number one, people will look and that is often the main problem. Get off off the top 10. You are not relevant.
Their website is so strong that if you type any company name in their database with the word “auto transport reviews” they will easily show up on top. That is absolutely devastating especially if it is 100% fact that the reviews are incorrectly filtered.
Since One Star Reviews “Must be Real”, Here Come the Trolls
I wouldn’t necessarily say that is the exact term for them but I’m referring to competitors. Competitors can easily make a fake profile and leave a bad review once a week if they want.
It happens all the time. If you look at the nearly all auto transport reviews that are bad on Yelp most of them are made by accounts that were brand new with zero friends and zero reviews elsewhere. Yet it must be real right? Nothing you can do. I report our own fakes and they literally reply to you with a cookie-cutter answer saying they determined it does qualify.
Yelp Needs to Let Service Based Companies Opt Out
Especially if you were a service-based company, you should have the right to opt out from their platform. I don’t serve Churros, I ship cars. Have our profile deleted and your reviews no longer visible on search. If they want have a special archive, sure. But no index it from search.
But at least an archive will be buried in a couple of years and all the real and actual reviews that are accurate will leave those fake ones in the past.