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Meet the author:
Jill Olkoski

Jill has a MA in Clinical Psychology, a BS in Computer Science, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

She currently owns Aldebaran Web Design in Edmonds (near Seattle WA) and enjoys educating her clients on topics related to small business website design.

In Jill's previous life, she spent 17 years in the engineering and quality organizations of a Fortune 100 tech company.


Why Are All My Yelp Reviews Filtered?

June 26th, 2012

Many years ago, I entered my Seattle web design business info into Yelp. I got a few reviews from clients and forgot about it. Then recently I logged in to change my business address, and discovered that all my reviews are now “filtered”.

Here’s my Yelp page:

Where are the reviews you ask?

Scroll way, way, way, way, way down to the bottom, and you’ll see this:

So if you click on it, you first have to get through a captcha, to make sure you’re not a robot. And then you can view my 7 reviews, all from actual clients, from 1/24/2006 – 6/7/12.

What does “filtered” mean? It basically means Yelp thinks the reviews are fake.

I emailed Yelp, and asked them why 100% of my reviews are filtered, even gave them the actual websites of these clients to prove they were real clients with real websites.

No reply.

Anyone got any ideas? This happen to anyone else?


A client of mine found this article:

So basically Yelp would like me to advertise for them, on my email footers and my website, and then if a client writes a review, they can tell that the review wasn’t “aggressively” asked for.

Meanwhile, all of my totally valid reviews are filtered. Yelp, why oh why would I give you a free link on my email and my website if you filter 100% of my valid reviews? Where’s the love?

J. Olkoski
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.

7 Responses to “Why Are All My Yelp Reviews Filtered?”

  1. Erin V. Says:

    Yelp doesn’t like “solicited” reviews. Its algorithm seems to assume that reviews that are written by users who haven’t had much interaction with Yelp in the past are solicited by the business rather than just written by the user on his/her own passion. Although the reviewer is legitimately writing the review, Yelp prefers them to write it without being asked, and they favor the reviews of those who do this with some sort of frequency. Because of this, people who post a review for a business and don’t have a photo, or only have a handful of reviews will often be filtered shortly thereafter. Filtration is a fluid concept, so if that user starts writing a lot of reviews on Yelp and is active over time, their review can show up on your page again. It’s a tricky thing to deal with, but I now tell my staff that, if they ask for a review, they should ask the client to write it on Google, and they should use Yelp only for people who already have and actively use their Yelp account. The filtration seems to get worse as Yelp determines reviews to be solicited. On their FAQ page, there’s a section about filtered reviews with some more info: Hope this helps!

  2. Jill Olkoski Says:

    Hi Erin,
    I did not know this, so thanks so much for the comment, I did read through Yelp’s FAQ and found this: “it affects positive reviews that appear to have been solicited by business owners” – so you are completely right, if they believe a review was solicited by a business owner – perhaps by people who don’t use Yelp maybe as you suggested, they hide them. The strange thing is, one of my reviews is by a regular Yelp reviewer – and her review got filtered as well. It’s too aggressive and unfair.

    But I’ll do what you’re doing. Go to Google.

  3. Paul @ Leeds daily photo Says:

    Hi Jill. Interesting info, by chance yesterday I registered a business on Yelp for some friends who are not at all technical. I was and am struggling to get them on Google maps because they operate on a boat, so I thought use a bit of lateral thinking and then perhaps Google will pick them up via other sites. I can see in part where Yelp are coming from with this. Asking around friends with businesses they either love review sites or hate them, no middle road on this one. Personally I like review sites and have put reviews on Tripadvisor and also Google, why not if people give me good service and I would use them again.

  4. SEOperson Says:

    Many business owners have the same problem like yours. Yelp has a Class Action Law Suit against them for distortion. This was dismissed by a judge this year because our current laws doesn’t make Yelp responsible for 3rd party content. Basically even if they remove bad reviews on purpose, they say it is automated and they have nothing to do with it. Many business owners were asked to join to Yelp and pay for their pricey advertising. When they didn’t do this, many of the positive reviews started being filtered. Also when someone signed up, their reviews started getting out of the filter and appeared on the site.

  5. Howard Says:

    Good info on Yelp, some of my clients have been getting the same filter. I had not heard of it until earlier this year. Crazy that they expect free advertising basically so they do not mess with your reviews. Argh…

  6. Jill Olkoski Says:

    Hi Howard, I totally agree. They are asking for free advertising on our websites. Very frustrating.

  7. Bill Lopez Says:

    The product I offer does not lend itself to either positive
    or negative reviews, (printer cartridges). Price is normally what draws a customer. The customer expects the cartridge to work, and most do work with no differenc from another. A customer who found a vendor with a lower price, doesn’t write
    a bad review about me and a good review about his new vendor,
    he writes no review.

    My satisfied customer who buy from me are satisfied, probably
    with my price. I have no bad reviews, probably because no
    one has had a problem which caused them to review me. I have
    repeat customers who I have had for years, but they have had
    no thought of writting a review, so I asked them to consider
    writting a review. If I had unhappy customers, I would have also asked them to write a review, but I have none, as they found a lower price from another vendor and are not a customer.

    The only bad review might come from Yelp, for not signing up for their paid ads.

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