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 http://www.yelp.com/developers/getting_started/api_logos.
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!