Phaedra Cook's article on Yelp's business practices in Houston

'Yelp proved a long time ago to be a successful outlet for consumers to speak their minds about restaurants and other kinds of businesses. However, the consumer reviews displayed on a Yelp page are sometimes skewed by the “Yelp Sort” algorithm. Even basic facts, such as whether a business is open or closed, aren’t necessarily correct. ’


When I’m looking at a restaurant on Yelp, I always cursor to the bottom of the page and click the “other reviews that are not currently recommended.” They don’t publish new reviewers for who knows how long, and how they cull out others, no idea. It’s why I’ve joined and have a profile but have never reviewed anything. What’s the point?

BTW, Phaedra Cook announced her resignation as food editor at the Press recently, as you probably have seen. There’s an opening!

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I mainly use Yelp for facts about the business (hours, a convenient map, link to the website, etc.) I find the pictures more helpful than the reviews usually. I had seen Myth marked as closed but I thought that was just confusion with their old location. Back when I reviewed Myth for my blog, the Yelp listing for previous incarnation, Greek Myth Cafe as I recall, was still active and people were posting reviews there for the ‘new’ operation, which had a different menu and operating hours. I just assumed that, like the ‘closed’ marking, it indicated the owner wasn’t keeping tabs on his listing and contacting Yelp about changes.

Oh well. What I learned from this is that may be helpful is there is a way to re-sort the reviews; I had never noticed that! I’ll be playing with that and see if I think it improves my experience.

But what is this doing on the Texas/Houston board? Doesn’t Yelp have similar problems everywhere?

Lambowner: I’m sorry to see Phaedra go. I thought she was doing a very good job.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2