Yelp: "Filter" Is Now a Dirty Word

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Yelp has stopped referring to reviews as “filtered.”

Go to the Yelp listing of any business that had some of its reviews gobbled up, and scroll down until you find the little gray link right below the “Write a Review” button and below any reviews that actually made it onto the page.

That link, which used to say – for example – “4 filtered reviews,” now says “4 other reviews that are not currently recommended.”

Apparently, “filtered” is now a dirty word at Yelp HQ.

You might even say Yelp is filtering its speech on filters.

3 other changes:

1.  There’s no CAPTCHA once you click on the link.  You can see the reviews right away.

2.  You no longer see just the filtered…err, not recommended reviews on the “not recommended” page.  There’s a video.

3.  Yelp shot an entirely new video (below).  It was posted to YouTube yesterday (11/13/13).  There’s not even one mention of the word “filter.”  They had an old video, but it was only available from the FAQ page (which, by the way, also doesn’t use the word “filter” anymore).  That video has since been taken down (“made private” on YouTube).


It’s interesting that the word “currently” is in there.  That’s intentional.  As I and others have noted, Yelp reviews can be filtered, unfiltered, and re-filtered, and so on.  It depends mostly on how active the reviewer is on Yelp.  Even if you write a review and it’s filtered the first time around, if you review other businesses over a period of a few months and become “friends” with other Yelpers, that review will most likely rise from the ashes.  It appears Yelp is trying to make that fact a little more apparent to business owners and would-be reviewers.

I think the folks Yelp are trying to accomplish mainly two things by opening the kimono slightly:

(1)  They’re trying to encourage more people to become active reviewers/users (which ultimately can help Yelp boost ad revenues, among other things),  and

(2)  They may want to mollify some of the business owners who are furious about the review filter.

Your thoughts?  Why do you think Yelp has thrown a wet towel on its own term for its own approach to screening reviews?  Leave a comment!


  1. Yelp has bought the German portal Qype and 30 October switched off. Now several thousand reviews have landed in the filter. Bad reviews are visible, good filtered. Often 80, 90 or more percent.

    • Interesting. So Qype reviews were not filtered before Yelp bought Qype, and now many Qype reviews are being filtered?

      • Yes, thats right! Business Owners have maybe 100 Reviews, 90% with 5 Stars on Qype. Now they have 7 Review with 1 or 2 Stars and the Rest is filtered. Hundreds are already upset former premium customers terminate their business contract.

  2. A mess that’s not any better by changing it’s name… “filtered” just isn’t working properly.

  3. Good find, Phil. I feel like this is more of a PR campaign on their part than anything substantive…trying to slowly change their perception among business owners, one (very) small step at a time.

    • Thanks, David. I agree completely. Just wondering whether the PR is meant to set the stage for more-material changes later on – to soften people up in some way. I guess we’ll find out…

  4. avatar Michelle Parker says

    I once referenced the filter in my response to a review. My review was removed. I said “I guess I should not have said the “F” word!”

    • Interesting, Michelle. Thanks for the vignette. Makes me wonder how Yelp would feel about “coffee filters” or “unfiltered cigarettes.”

      I’m guessing there were other factors at work, though. Yelp’s filter is more about how active reviewers are than about their diction – by far.

  5. avatar Jennifer Koenig says

    Did you notice in the video how they say Yelp treats advertisers and non advertisers the same way? I thought that was funny b/c I’ve read a lot of complaints from business owners who think they are being manipulated by Yelp if they won’t pay to advertise.

    • I’ve heard the same thing. My assumption has been that some rogue Yelp employees did un-kosher things, but that Yelp doesn’t systemically excuse advertisers from the filter. But that’s just an educated guess. I don’t think there’s any way to say definitively one way or the other.

  6. Nice catch Phil: This was seemingly so under the radar screen. I only saw it for the first time a few days ago and made some comments. I didn’t find references to it. The change was subtle and quiet, evidently.

    Now a couple of weeks later, with little publicity on the topic I believe you are correct in your assessment. Yelp probably wants to rid itself of the word “filter” which has taken on a negative connotation in connection with the business. Specifically smb’s with loads of filtered reviews and a possible majority of filtered reviews versus shown reviews have hated this process and complained about it for years. They especially complain when the majority of “filtered reviews” were positive.

    I have no idea how many yelp visitors go to “filtered reviews” or ever have or will go them now that the verbiage is different. The link to these reviews is on the same place at the bottom of a page of reviews, its subtle rather than highlighted.

    I would suspect the traffic to “filtered” reviews/”other reviews not currently recommended” is very slight. Yelp knows what it is but has never revealed any info on that.

    But frankly…when one wants to complain and yap, and attack 😉 its so much easier to use a one word descriptive term ie FILTERED than a longish term….”other reviews not currently recommended” when ripping at the situation. 😀

    Its a subtle change. I can’t imagine it having a major impact.

    • Thanks, Dave. Good take. As you say, the new nomenclature just seems to be PR. What puzzles me is why Yelp removed the CAPTCHA that you used to have to pass through before seeing the filtered reviews. It’s as though Yelp wants to channel attention away from the fact that there’s a filter, but wants to call a little more attention to the filtered removes themselves. Just weird.


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