Bad Yelp Reviews in the Spotlight Again

A one-star drop in a Yelp rating can equal up to 9 percent decrease in revenue

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Yelp helps small businesses estimate online revenueDid you catch that crazy restaurant-owning couple on Fox’s “Kitchen Nightmares” last week?

Sammy and Amy Bouzaglo, owners of Amy’s Baking Co. in Scottsdale, Fla., can’t take much criticism from the “haters and bloggers” who have (or haven’t) eaten at their establishment. Deserved or not, the bitterly negative reviews Amy’s has received online since appearing on the show have reignited the debate over Yelp’s impact on small businesses.

Yelp reviews can destroy a business’s reputation, reports the Washington Post. More than 700 businesses and consumers have filed complaints about Yelp’s consumer review service with the Federal Trade Commission.

What’s worse? A 2011 study by the Harvard Business School, a one-star drop in a Yelp rating equals a 5 percent to 9 percent decrease in revenue for small businesses.