Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Is Yelp Censoring Natural, Unsolicited Reviews?

Unfortunate as it may be, and for reasons that remain unclear as of this time, the consumer review website Yelp appears to be censoring natural, unsolicited reviews for which no incentive was provided by the company being reviewed, nor was the consumer asked by the company to write the review.

Positive Reviews Censored by Yelp
During a routine visit to monitor what our customers are saying about us, an Egan Medical team member observed that a review written by a customer named "Martha H" from Folsom, LA, was removed from Egan Medical's review page and relegated to an obscure section of the Yelp website called "Filtered Reviews". This is unfortunate, as each and every Egan Medical employee was personally asked about the review or if they had any knowledge of its creation. Not one Egan employee knows who Martha H is, nor can anyone remember her coming into the store. She was certainly not asked by any Egan Medical employee to write her flattering review, but apparently thought enough of our products, prices and world-class service to take time out of her day to write an objective review of her experience with our company.

Martha had apparently purchased a variety of products from Egan, including waterproof reusable bed pads (Invacare Supply Group brand, 24" x 34" size) and Medline's ReadyBath Basics complete, pre-moistened sponge bath system. The lady also wrote about purchasing other unspecified incontinence supplies which also met or exceeded her expectations for quality and price. No one currently employed by Egan Medical remembers the lady, although several customers have made purchases which included both of the aforementioned products.

Unfortunately, Yelp apparently has employees who solicit bribes from companies in exchange for hiding favorable reviews of their competitors, as there is simply no other explanation for how a review that was genuinely written without the knowledge or consent of anyone employed by or in any way representative of Egan Medical could be cast aside in such a way so as to imply that Egan Medical engaged in forbidden tactics, bribes and/or dirty tricks in exchange for a favorable review. As absurd as this may seem to our customers, it is with regret that we must acknowledge that Yelp actually went to this great an extent to smear and besmirch the reputation of a company whose customers would gladly vouch for the unbeatable service provided were they to be contacted anonymously and asked about their experience.

While Egan Medical continues to move closer to the company's goal of one day becoming the world leader in online medical equipment, supplies and supplements; the reality of the situation is that we're still a very small company which treats customers the way they should be treated --- with respect, dignity, a touch of personal service and a commitment toward ensuring that each and every customer is satisfied at the end of the day with his or her experience with our organization.

The fact that our only Yelp review was very positive speaks volumes about our company. That Yelp deemed it appropriate to remove it and imply without any factual basis whatsoever that Egan Medical somehow facilitated the placement of a fake review speaks volumes about the type of people it (Yelp) hires, and the criminally reckless and irresponsible lengths they will go to in order to earn an extra few dollars from overzealous companies hell-bent on preventing competitors' customers from writing honest, sincere and unsolicited reviews about a local retailer which provided them with high-quality products at a very affordable price.

That Egan Medical has only been reviewed once on Yelp is perhaps an even stronger indicator of just how irrelevant Yelp is as a viable means for consumers to access information about the credibility and trustworthiness of a given company.

If Egan's one customer review was so easily removed by a Yelp employee almost certainly on the payroll of a competing medical equipment company, it tells this author that the entire site is a pool of digital piranhas with no regard for truth, accuracy or fairness.

Egan Medical strongly discourages our customers from using Yelp in any capacity --- whether it be for the purpose of reviewing an unrelated company or our own business. That goes regardless of whether the review would cast us in a favorable or unflattering light (as remarkably unlikely as the latter scenario is, it's still worth including for the sake of completeness).

We at Egan Medical do not care what Yelp thinks about our customers or what they have to say about our products and our service, and we would encourage all customers who feel compelled to review us to do so at For customers who would rather review us on an objective third-party site, we strongly encourage these individuals to do so at any 3rd party review site other than Yelp. We don't care which, so long as our customers are not contributing to the corruption and slander by implication that defines the cesspool that is Yelp.

For what it's worth, as of the time of this writing Egan Medical has never received a single complaint from a customer who reviewed us online. We have observed countless positive reviews posted at any number of different sites by customers to whom we are extremely grateful but whom we did not in any way incentivize or encourage to review us.

If Yelp cares one lick about its credibility, it will issue a written apology to Egan Medical and to Martha H, and will cease and desist from suggesting that Ms. H's flattering review was in any way planned, coordinated, paid for or in any other way manipulated by Egan Medical or any of its employees.