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Friday, March 20, 2009


Online reviews are nothing new but few sites are as popular or powerful as Yelp, which launched in 2004. Now used by millions of people, Yelp's five star system can make or break a business. Co-founder Jeremy Stoppleman talks about the site's evolution.

Comments [6]

Sarah Fidelibus from San Francisco

I'm adding my voice to those that expressed disappointment in Bob Garfield's handling of the Stoppleman interview. Garfield was indeed too easy on Stoppleman, accepting every PR line from the Yelp co-founder's mouth as though it were an actual thoughtful, considered answer.

The piece fired me up so much that I wrote about it on my blog:

I think the reason so many of us were particularly frustrated by this interview is that we have been spoiled by Garfield and the attention to detail that he usually exhibits in interviews.

One last thought: there is a bit of an irony in the fact that OTM's comments are moderated, while Yelp is overloaded with some many reviews that say little more than, "I hated this place!"

Thanks for the show.

-Sarah Fidelibus

Mar. 26 2009 03:17 PM
Brian from NYC

So I just checked out the links left in the other comments.....OTM - you have some explaining to do. So it looks like OTM either chose to cover up these allegations, or were completely ignorant to them. Either way - completely unacceptable.

Mar. 25 2009 10:19 PM
Brian from NYC

I'm guessing that OTM chose not to touch on this very juicy detail because Yelp probably gave a donation to NPR - only instead of a NPR mug - they got to put their press release on OTM.

This omission of key facts has been happening across the board on NPR shows. I've been an avid NPR supporter for years, but lately things have changed.

Hey OTM - there's a story right under your noses - how about you do a segment on the degradation of NPR's journalism....or when you say On The Media - do you mean On Their Media.

Mar. 25 2009 10:03 PM
Rocco Proyb from Berkeley, CA

I had a driveway moment, waiting to hear
Garfieled's redoubtable sardonicism directed
at Stoppelman regarding the newspapers'
allegations of Yelp miscreancy. But nada.

Perhaps OTM will drop the other shoe soon.

Mar. 22 2009 10:11 PM
Christopher E from Evanston, IL

Like Daniel, I was surprised that OTM neglected to mention the recent allegations against yelp. It's happening in Chicago as well:,0,3536868.story

Mar. 22 2009 07:23 PM
Daniel C. from San Francisco

Mr. Stoppleman avoided, and OTM failed to ask, about recent allegations regarding Yelp's ad sales methods. A number of small business owners are saying that Yelp's sales reps have offered to bury, suppress, or even delete, negative reviews from a business's Yelp page, in exchange for advertising on the site. Some are also claiming that if they refused to buy ad space, Yelp then added negative reviews, or made them more prominent on the business's profile. The East Bay Express first reported the story in February:

... and then followed up this week:

Chris O'Brien covered it as well in the San Jose Mercury News, on March 11th:

Try a web search on Yelp under Google News; there are a few articles covering it.

I hope OTM does a follow-up story with Mr. Stoppelman. Or maybe they could interview Sarah Lippman, the Yelp staffer who allegedly requested that the Uptown Nightclub in Oakland, CA provide free drinks to Yelp employees in exchange for positive reviews.

Mar. 22 2009 02:13 PM

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