Review Site Series: Displaying Filtered Reviews

yelp-filtered-review-captcha1For this edition of our Review Site Series, we would like to focus on review sites that allow users to see filtered reviews. As we wrote about previously, Yelp allows you to view filtered reviews provided you enter in a pesky CAPTCHA.

We at ReviewInc feel that it is very important for a review site to have this functionality. Even better, we feel that there should not even be a filter, and let readers use their own best judgment when reading reviews.

Coffee Filters
With the exception of egregious reviews where it is fairly obvious that it is spam (featuring advertisements or multiple bodies of text that do not make any grammatical sense), we feel that if there is a filter in place, it should only really capture these types of reviews. If there are reviews where the user at least has a photo and has reviewed at least a handful of other places (that don’t skew to either extreme side), they should be visible to readers.

Of course, there is no way of really knowing the algorithms that make these review filters work (unless you work for the website, of course), but we would like to see a little more transparency with regards to what the criteria are that determine if a review gets filtered or not.

37394035_sFor example, instead of relegating all the filtered reviews to a no man’s land (essentially where all reviews go to die), perhaps leaving all the reviews on one page, but marking suspicious reviews with some sort of flag that readers can then hover over or click with their mouse to see the reasons why this review is particularly suspicious. Or, even making the background of the reviews a certain color that determines their degree of reliability with a key in the corner that shows what each color level represents. (E.g. blue: reliable, yellow: semi-reliable, red: unreliable).

What do you think? Do you think that review sites should have filters? If so, to what extent do you think these filters should go to in order to capture spam-like reviews? Let us know in the comments below!

UPDATE 11/13/13 10:40 AM PST: It has come to our attention that Yelp has now changed their filtering system from ‘Filtered Reviews’ to ‘Recommended/Not Recommended Reviews’. Per Yelp:

What Are Recommended Reviews?

We get millions of reviews from our users, so we use automated software to recommend the ones that are most helpful for the Yelp community. The software looks at dozens of different signals, including various measures of quality, reliability, and activity on Yelp. The process has nothing to do with whether a business advertises on Yelp or not. The reviews that currently don’t make the cut are listed below and are not factored into this business’s overall star rating. Learn more here.

You may also learn more about this by watching the video below:

Let us know your thoughts about this new change in the comments below!