Letters: Yelp ratings? Try your friends.

Re "Yelp's tactics feel 'nefarious,' even if they're legal," Column, April 4

David Lazarus seems to have a point about ads on Yelp.com, but my question is why would anybody rely on reviews posted on the site anyway?

Reviews signed by random "critics" like Johnny B. from San Clemente and Sandy Z. from Agoura Hills have about as much merit as a note on the boys' locker room wall that says, "For a good time, call Peggy Sue B."

You want to know if a restaurant is good? Ask some friends who have been there. Your friends may not be expert food critics, but at least they are known quantities.

Dave Riley

Laguna Woods

I read Lazarus' piece on Yelp. Here are my two cents.

Recently, while researching worm bins (I'm serious), I went on Craigslist to find someone who sells worms. I found an ad from a guy in the area, and his listing referred to his Yelp rating. I clicked through and sure enough, right next to his Yelp rating was a big ad for a competing worm farmer.

It occurred to me that if Yelp really wanted to help its participating businesses, it would feature an ad on this worm guy's page for composting bins, fishing equipment, fishing trips or just about anything that would help both businesses rather than potentially hurt the business that is featured on the page.

As a real estate agent, we deal with the same thing on Zillow, Trulia and other realty websites: We can pay them to prevent other agents from showing up on our own page. It's a racket.

Susan Smeltzer

San Pedro


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