User-generated ratings site Yelp has been on a tear of late. But while users have embraced the site, small businesses, who are the target of sometimes-scathing reviews, have grumbled about not being able to counter critiques they feel are inaccurate or even intentionally negative.
Now, the company is giving businesses the chance to fire back, according to CNET. Participating merchants will need to register with the site and there will be strict guidelines about what is deemed an appropriate response; Yelp will vet postings for comments that are disparaging, attacking or pandering. In the past, businesses could respond to user ratings, but only via private exchanges with the users.
Since its launch in 2004, Yelp has raised $31 million from investors that include DAG Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Benchmark Capital. The site's audience has doubled over the past year, to almost 6 million, according to Quantcast.
By Rory Maher