Yelp (really)

March.10. 2014

I’ve posted a few reviews on Yelp, mostly 5-star kudos-type comments in appreciation of outstanding food and service.

But the other day, after a particularly distasteful dinner at a ramen place here in Palo Alto, I decided to post my first 1-star review and imagine my surprise when I found it was made invisible the next day, and my less than enthusiastic 1-star review was not factored into the overall rating of this establishment.

Apparently, Yelp does not like negative comments and only allows glowing reviews.

That was a surprise as I always thought ‘yelp’ was supposed to be a cry of pain, as opposed to a whoop of joy.

Even Google seems to agree with me:



noun: yelp; plural noun: yelps


a short sharp cry, esp. of pain or alarm.

“she uttered a yelp as she bumped into a table”

So why call the website ‘yelp’ if all you want are positive rave reviews from your users?

I suspect the answer might lie in those two magic words — sponsorship dollars.

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