Does Yelp Help?

Within the 10 x 15 block area known as Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, user-generated review website Yelp lists a whopping 2,339 business, services, and other locations with ratings of one to five stars. Given the fact that Yelp is one of the most popular sites in the country, the overall star rating generated by individual reviews can have a significant impact on businesses: an increase of one star can mean an extra 5 to 9 percent revenue for a businesses. But even people with local establishments that are reviewed generally well, have mixed feelings about Yelp and other internet review sites.

“When you read these things, so often so many of them seem to be mean spirited,” said Katherine Pangaro, the general manager of No. 7, an upscale restaurant on Greene Avenue.

Pangaro said some reviews are helpful, but said it seems like some reviewers come into her resturaunt intent on discovering negative aspects of it.”I’ve read things that I’m like “that’s something I can improve”. And I’ve read things that I’m like, “that didn’t even happen,'” she said.

Diamante’s Brooklyn Cigar Lounge is very well reviewed on Yelp, but owner David Diamante still worries that someone could tarnish his store’s image on the internet. “The internet is one of those places where people can hide behind anonymity, so thank god that hasn’t happened to us yet,” he said.

But Diamante was quick to point out the internet has so far done more good than harm for his business. “I’ve had more than a couple of people come in and say they saw us on Yelp…if it wasn’t for the internet I don’t think people would even know we’re here.”

Business owners in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill: please take my survey to assist me in answering…

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