Yelp Responds to Flagging of “Ugly Pizza Box,” 1-Star Review

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Personal Pet Peeves

Posted: 01/6/2014

This is why people REALLY hate Yelp.

When I posted about the Yelp review by “Nikki R.” who awarded 1-star to a Boston restaurant because they gave her an “ugly generic” pizza box , I was certain the review would fall victim to the infamous Yelp algorithm, and be removed quickly.

To the contrary, not only has the review remained, but Yelp has defended their decision not to remove it. Here is their response to Craig Caplan, a Yelper who flagged the review:

We’re writing to let you know that we’ve evaluated Nikki R’s review of Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant that you recently flagged. Based on what we see in the review, we can’t confirm that the user has a conflict of interest with the business.

If a review appears to reflect a user’s personal experience and opinions, it is our policy to let the user stand behind their review. We’ve decided not to remove this review, but appreciate you bringing it to our attention.

Business owners can address concerns or misunderstandings via their Business Account by posting a public comment or sending a private message to the reviewer.

The “pizza box” review by Nikki is the first and only review he/she has made, Nikki has no Yelp ‘friends’, and no picture in their profile. Nikki has also not responded to the 3 direct messages I sent.

Now about that algorithm

I have invited Luther Lowe, Director of Public Policy at Yelp to respond.

Luther Lowe responded on twitter with this cavalier sentiment, “If you don’t like 1 review, there are 47 million + alternatives.” Now that’s customer service!!

2 Responses to “Yelp Responds to Flagging of “Ugly Pizza Box,” 1-Star Review”

  1. Darren says:

    Of course they won’t take it down; Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant haven’t paid them any “protection money” to quash bad reviews. We all know the site is nothing more than an extortionist racket frequented by assholes with aspirations of becoming douchebags

  2. Samuel says:

    Wow. I saw the facebook post that Chef Nick made, but I didn’t realize it went this far into investigation. I don’t agree with yelp one bit here. Businesses, especially in cities, depend on a solid yelp ranking for new and steady traffic. If yelp continues to allow reviews similar to ones of this nature, I think they will run the risk of loosing ALL credibility. Everybody knows aesthetics matter, togo ware? NY Times won’t even dock you for that (I think). The folks at Lincoln take SO much pride in their pizza. It truly is BS that someone can threaten the future of their online reputation and livelihood with such a bogus review. Because yeah, that 1 star will pull down their overall score, and if behavior like this is encouraged to continue, it could be a severe problem. I think I’m done with yelp. Great post Patty. Thanks for giving me a purpose while enjoying my morning joe!

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