Can You Repurpose Customers’ Yelp Reviews on Your Website? An Answer from Yelp HQ

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Image Credit David Berkowitz

There’s long been a concern among “local” business owners and marketers that Yelp might filter or otherwise remove your hard-earned reviews if you copy and paste them onto your site.  Yelp’s a killjoy, so there’s some basis for that assumption.

But it turns out Yelp is fine with your publishing Yelp reviews on your site (and sometimes elsewhere), under a few conditions.

I couldn’t find the official policies on that practice posted anywhere, and a recent conversation on Google+ got me wondering, so I asked.  Here’s what Lucy at Yelp HQ told me the other day:

We have a few common sense guidelines if you want to use your Yelp rating and reviews in basic marketing materials, including your own website:

DO ask the reviewers themselves before using their reviews. You can contact them by sending them a “Private Message” on Yelp through your Business Account.

DO stick to verbatim quotes, and don’t quote out of context. If a review has colorful language that doesn’t suit your needs, you should probably move on to the next review.

DO attribute the reviews to Yelp using the Yelp logo (e.g.,”Reviews from Yelp”), and do attribute the reviews to their authors and the date written (e.g.,”- Mike S. on 4/5/09″). Yelp logos can be found at

DON’T distort the Yelp logo or use it in any way to suggest that Yelp or its users are affiliated with your business or helped create your marketing materials. Your business and your marketing need to stand on their own.

DON’T alter star ratings. Average star ratings change over time, so you also need to include the date of your rating nearby (e.g.,”**** as of 5/1/09″).

While we would hope not to, we reserve the right to change these guidelines from time to time or rescind our permission for any or no reason.

Reasonable enough, except for that last clause.  It also squares with what I’ve found to be true of reviews (Yelp and Google+) regardless of policy: they just don’t get filtered if you repurpose them.

What’s been your experience with reusing reviews?  Do you ask customers first?  Have you run across businesses who flagrantly go against Yelp’s reuse policies?  Leave a comment!


  1. My concern about copying reviews is whether it’s going to cause duplicate content problems for ranking. Thoughts on this?

  2. Good work Phil. I like that response. As far as the last paragraph, this is the web, after all, and it is local. What you see today is going to change tomorrow. That should be the motto for the industry.

    Anyway I looked at some smbs we run wherein we “manage reviews”. Cripes. On the Yelp side we have respectively 70%, 80%, and 85% filtered yelp reviews.

    The specific issue with getting them up and that response from yelp is that I don’t think there is an easy way to communicate with the yelp reviewer through yelp if the review is filtered. I’ll have to revisit that.

    In our cases the filtered are essentially non active yelpers.

    Boy in two of our verticals customers just rely on reviews. Fortunately we have some smbs with just great service….and we do get great reviews.

    We have “fiddled with that dance and situation. We’ll address it with more effort.

    • Thanks, Dave.

      I can sort of understand Yelp’s reasoning for not letting you DM the writers of filtered reviews. Just curious: what would you be asking/telling them? Short of persuading them to become habitual Yelpers, there’s not much you can do.

  3. Thanks for the great information and cleaning this subject up. Great Post. May I share


  4. I’ve been leaving the reviews alone that actively show on Yelp and have been taking reviews from the “not recommended” section on Yelp and copy/pasting those to the clients’ sites w/ their initials, date and location.

    Most Yelpers never venture to that section and this way you can actually make use of the legit filtered reviews.

  5. We, like many businesses have countless great reviews on Yelp that
    have been flagged as “Not recommended” by Yelp’s algorithms. Almost all
    are from users who have many reviews of other businesses and full
    vibrant profiles. Yet, several 1 star reviews remain on our page even
    though the user has no picture, has never rated any other businesses and
    has absolutely noting on their profile. Whenever we receive a 1star
    review on Yelp that we know is not legitimate which is most, we respond
    in the same way. Something to the effect of;

    is a fraudulent review from a competitor. We’ve reached out to
    Yelp about these on several occasions. Their generic email reply indicates
    there is not actually anyone at the wheel at Yelp. What anyone will
    notice about any of these reviews is that the reviewers have never
    reviewed any other businesses, have no picture, no friends, and no
    legitimate activity what so ever.
    I wish we could review Yelp… ZERO Stars!

    We have also noticed that thousands of business owners have had great success by filing complaints against Yelp with the Better Business Bureau.

  6. Good Day Phil,

    May I ask for your opinion as I (think) cannot find my answer in here

    From Lucy’s email it did mention we can use them following the guidelines however I am a bit confused if I can use both the recommended and not recommended to shop up in the website. The guideline from Yelp says to quote “Only use Yelp’s recommended reviews (i.e., do not use reviews that aren’t currently recommended)”. Does this mean that we can show Yelp’s review in our website BUT ONLY the recommended ones and cannot at all show the not recommended reviews. Looks like all our GOOD review are under the not recommended. I hope you can shed some light on this.


    • That’s a gray area, Patrick. On the one hand, I’d say you can use the “not recommended” reviews. (I mean, what’s Yelp going to do? Filter them again?) OTOH, I think what Yelp wants to avoid is a situation where you have 10 reviews on Yelp, 8 of which are filtered, and you slap all 10 on your website and say something like “As seen on Yelp!” The filtered reviews are orphans. I would just treat them as you would a testimonial that a customer writes for you on a perfumed letter – rather than on a specific review site.

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