Now a federal appeals court has ruled that Yelp can lower or raise the rating of a business depending on whether it advertises with the company. This was in response to a lawsuit filed by small businesses claiming Yelp used the tactic to try to extort ads from them.
Yelp has denied doing that but the court ruled that even if Yelp did manipulate reviews, the practice would be legal.
“The business owners may deem the posting or order of user reviews as a threat of economic harm, but it is not unlawful for Yelp to post and sequence the reviews,” Judge Marsha Berzon wrote for the three-judge panel. “As Yelp has the right to charge for legitimate advertising services, the threat of economic harm that Yelp leveraged is, at most, hard bargaining.”
When I first heard of the ruling I was appalled for our clients but at least this ruling makes the playing field clearer.
So should your veterinary hospital advertise on Yelp? There is no blanket answer to that question because that has to be evaluated on a clinic to clinic basis. How active your clients are on Yelp, local competition and overall Yelp rating are all factors to be considered. Analyzing how the Yelp review algorithm filters your clinic online is also essential in determining whether your clinic should advertise with Yelp.
And that’s where Doctor Multimedia comes in. Call us today at 1-800-605-6987 or email [email protected] and let us help you determine if Yelp could be beneficial to your clinics marketing strategy.