Businesses will finally be able to respond to the critics who have the power to make or break them on Yelp. The company is getting ready to roll out a feature that will allow business account holders to respond publicly to their critics.
Currently, business owners could only respond through private messages.
Yelp recently was forced to defend itself against allegations of manipulating reviews in exchange for ad dollars. In February, an alternative weekly published a scathing, albeit biased, piece that was filled with stories of businesses being promised better reviews if they'd buy ads. Yelp denied the allegations.
An opportunity to open that dialogue between business owner and critic could benefit others, as well. Yelp community manager Don Bourassais, quoted in a CNET story, said:
If you wrote a glowing 5-star review some months ago about your favorite pub, in which you mention drinking Harp because they didn't carry Guinness...both you and other readers would probably be happy to see a new comment saying, 'Just got our Guinness tap last week. Hope to see you soon!
The feature is expected to roll out in the coming weeks.