Thursday, April 5, 2012


I just discovered, and have passed some unplanned extra time at the computer center by posting brutally candid reviews of some local stores (the ones where no member of my immediate family has worked, but we have shopped, within the last year or two).

If you work for a store about which I've "Yelped," here are answers to some questions that may come to mind:

Q. Why didn't my business get more stars?

A. One is the lowest number of stars Yelp provides (there's no black ball). Five represents perfection, and nobody's perfect. Three stars means a business is satisfactory. Four means it's warmly recommended. Two means there's a valid reason why some people looking for the type of business Yelp represents yours as being would not want to call your business; e.g. you're still listed as a taxi service but you no longer maintain one.

Q. Can these reviews be improved?

A. Easily...change the situation or policy that I've mentioned as a problem, e-mail, and your review should be upgraded within a week after someone has verified that the change has gone into effect.

Q. Can these reviews be enhanced with more details about what my business offers?

A. Not on Yelp, although the system does offer a restaurant "survey" with yes/no/don't-know questions like "Does this restaurant offer take-out food?" However, they can be enhanced with full-length articles on this web site. Readers who find your business on Google will find the article pages as well as the Yelp pages. Articles may include photos, prices, and lists of what you sell or do.

You may also sponsor an article that's not about your business as such, but is about something relevant to your business. For example, if your store sells gluten-free baking mixes, you might want to post the name, address, phone and/or web link for your store and a list of products you sell at the end of a gluten-free recipe; if you sell books, you might post similar information at the end of a book review. You can identify your store in plain text, free of charge, in the comment section. For live links, you need to pay, and we need to verify that clicking on your links didn't do anything weird to the computer(s) we were using.

Q. Yelp lists several entities, such as churches and public schools, that aren't ordinarily counted as businesses. Can public or nonprofit organizations sponsor this web site, too?

A. Yes, but we don't offer special rates. If individuals want to sponsor this site in the name of a church, school, political group, charity, even a departed friend they want to memorialize, they may.

We love locally owned businesses and look forward to networking with yours. The more sponsors this web site gets, the more shopping we will be able to do, and the more up-to-date my Yelps will be.