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Don’t Trust Yelp Reviews? 6 Tips for Consumers

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By Andrea Chang

confused_consumer_laptop(MCT)—Accusations about Yelp Inc.’s business practices and authenticity of reviews have angered scores of small-business owners.

They also have left some consumers feeling confused about what they can and can’t trust on the popular site, which features 42 million reviews on bars, restaurants, orthodontists, body shops, gyms, nail salons, hotels and much more.

Although Yelp is the leading user-review website, plenty of other sites offer online reviews from users. For restaurants alone, people can turn not only to Yelp but also to OpenTable, Google and MenuPages, among others.

Here are some tips to help you wade through the endless sea of reviews on Yelp:

—Don’t rely solely on the overall star rating. Read a bit deeper because the rating can be misleading, especially if reviewers are basing their scores on something you don’t particularly care about, such as valet parking.

—Change the way reviews are sorted. The priority is important because most users look at only the first few reviews. When you first arrive at a company’s Yelp page, it automatically shows you reviews that are ordered according to “Yelp Sort,” which is “determined by recency, user voting and other review quality factors.”

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