MIT Technology Review: Anti-vaxxers are weaponizing Yelp to punish bars that require vaccine proof

MIT Technology Review: Anti-vaxxers are weaponizing Yelp to punish bars that require vaccine proof. “Spamming review portals with negative ratings is not a new phenomenon. Throughout the pandemic, the tactic has also been deployed to attack bars and restaurants that enforced mask-wearing for safety. As pandemic restrictions have lifted, businesses like Mother’s Ruin have sought to ensure that safety by requiring proof of vaccination using state-sponsored apps like New York’s Excelsior Pass, vaccine passports, or simply flashing vaccine cards at the door — practices that have instigated a second surge of spam reviews.”

Yelp: Yelp makes it easy to support LGBTQ-owned businesses, and find “Open to All” places to celebrate Pride

Yelp: Yelp makes it easy to support LGBTQ-owned businesses, and find “Open to All” places to celebrate Pride. “To celebrate Pride Month, Yelp is making it easier than ever for consumers to support businesses that align with their values, and find safe and welcoming places to enjoy Pride celebrations all month long. Starting today, Yelp is introducing an LGBTQ-owned business attribute that will allow business owners to self identify as LGBTQ-owned. In addition, restaurant, food and nightlife businesses that identify as LGBTQ-owned or Open to All will be highlighted on Yelp with rainbow-colored map pins for the entire month of June to help people find places to celebrate Pride Month.”

INSEAD Knowledge: What Yelp Reviews Can Tell Us About the State of the Economy

INSEAD Knowledge: What Yelp Reviews Can Tell Us About the State of the Economy. “In a paper forthcoming in Big Data for Twenty-First Century Economic Statistics published by the US National Bureau of Economic Research, we show that Yelp’s crowdsourced data can help measure economic activity at the local level in close to real time, in contrast with official data that is often published years after. Changes in the number of businesses and restaurants reviewed on Yelp can help ‘nowcast’ changes in the corresponding official statistics before they are released. In short, sources like Yelp could complement official data in business and policymaking.”

NBC News: Almost 60 percent of business closures are now permanent, new Yelp data shows

NBC News: Almost 60 percent of business closures are now permanent, new Yelp data shows. “As of Aug. 31, 163,735 businesses have indicated on Yelp that they have closed, a 23 percent increase since mid-July. Yelp also measures businesses whose closures have become permanent. That number has steadily increased over the past six months, now reaching 97,966, representing 60 percent of closed businesses that won’t be reopening.”

The Verge: Yelp is adding a new tool to easily search for black-owned businesses

The Verge: Yelp is adding a new tool to easily search for black-owned businesses. “Yelp is launching a new tool to allow businesses on the platform to identify themselves as black-owned, CEO Jeremy Stoppelman announced in a blog post Thursday. Customers will be able to search the Yelp app for black-owned businesses they want to support. Over the last week, Yelp says it saw a huge increase in the searches on the app for black-owned companies across various industries.”

The Verge: Yelp says it shut down 550 user accounts after discovering a fraudulent review ring

The Verge: Yelp says it shut down 550 user accounts after discovering a fraudulent review ring. “Yelp knows its credibility is only as good as its reviews, so today, it’s releasing its first Consumer Alerts Report, which details incidents in which Yelp’s team intervened to cut off fraudulent reviews or activity. The report shines a light on behavior that one would likely expect happens on a review site — people trying to game the system — but only focuses on successful cases where either Yelp’s human team or software detected abnormal behavior.”

Yelp Testifying in Google Antitrust Hearing: Self-Preferencing by Dominant Internet Platforms (Yelp Blog)

Yelp Blog: Yelp Testifying in Google Antitrust Hearing: Self-Preferencing by Dominant Internet Platforms. “Yelp is testifying before the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust in the hearing titled Self-Preferencing by Dominant Internet Platforms on competition policy and consumer rights related to Google’s self-preferencing in local search results. You can read the full testimony here.”

Search Engine Land: Yelp cracks down on ‘review rings’ as Google continues to see widespread mapspam

Search Engine Land: Yelp cracks down on ‘review rings’ as Google continues to see widespread mapspam. “Yelp has almost certainly been the most aggressive of the review platforms to take action against spam and review fraud. The company has historically and controversially tried to prevent any form of review solicitation….Now the company is stepping up efforts to stop ‘review rings,’ which have become something of a cottage industry online.”

Gizmodo: Yelp Will Now Show You Restaurant Hygiene Scores

Gizmodo: Yelp Will Now Show You Restaurant Hygiene Scores. “Yelp announced today that the platform will start featuring hygiene scores of restaurants alongside reviews, photos, and other information. As of today, the feature is available in California, Illinois, New York, Texas, and Washington, DC, but Yelp says it intends to roll the initiative out in other states soon. Eventually, hundreds of thousands of U.S. restaurants should have their hygiene scores listed publicly on Yelp.”