If you search for reviews of Yell.com on Google, you may have noticed something very odd.
Review for Yell.com in Reviews.io
Review for Yell.com on Trustpilot
How can the same company score so differently on two independent review platforms?
1) Yell selectively invites reviews on Trustpilot
The first thing that might explain this stark difference is that Yell pays Trustpilot for “extra features”. One of these extra features is the ability to send selective invitations to its customers, asking them to leave a review.
This internal memo (supplied to us by a Yell employee) reveals how the company paid its staff £10 for each 5-star review they manage to gain for the company and instructs them not to ask customers “if there’s any risk [they] may leave a negative review”.
This is an illegal practice known as “Review Gating”. Over 80% of all Yell reviews on Trustpilot are invited reviews. All of the reviews left for Yell on Reviews.io are organic reviews and were not invited.
2) Yell flags 97% of negative Trustpilot reviews for removal.
Trustpilot allows businesses to flag a review for removal if it breaches its review guidelines. The review is then removed from the Trustpilot platform if found to be in breach.
It is no more likely that a negative review would be in breach of Trustpilot’s guidelines as a positive review. In fact, there are several businesses on Trustpilot with more positive reviews flagged for removal than negative reviews.
96% of all the reviews Yell flags for removal on Trustpilot are 1-star reviews. Selectively flagging only negative reviews is, therefore, a highly effective method of quickly and falsely increasing the average rating of a business on Trustpilot.
When this matter was brought to Trustpilot’s attention in June 2019, the company posted a warning message on Yell’s Trustpilot profile which read, “This company has previously invited its customers in a way that is not neutral.  Users should be aware that the company’s previous collection methods may have artificially inflated their Trustscore giving a possibly inaccurate impression of the company.”
This message was displayed on Trustpilot for two weeks and then removed. Trustpilot did not remove any of Yell reviews or modify the company’s Trustpilot rating as a result of this false manipulation.
3) Yell requests reviews before customers have used its products.
The vast majority of the positive reviews left for Yell on Trustpilot do not describe the customer’s experience of using Yell’s products or the degree to which Yell’s advertising worked for their business.
As you will see from the examples below, most of these positive reviews describe the customers’ experience of the sales process or the helpfulness of the sales agent.
It is reasonable to assume that Yell is inviting customers to leave reviews immediately after signing a Yell contract and before they have had any opportunity to use Yell’s products.
So, which Yell reviews can I trust?
Yell is not a paying customer of Reviews.io and is therefore unable to selectively invite customers or flag reviews for removal on this platform. One might, therefore, assume that the reviews left for Yell on Reviews.io could be considered far more trustworthy and less likely to have been manipulated by Yell.
If you are considering using Yell’s products for your business, you may also wish to consider…
- Yell is currently facing a group legal action claim from 1,800+ customers for misrepresentation and breach of contract.
- Yell has been repeatedly criticised in the national press for its selling practices and review manipulation.
- Yell is the subject of a Parliamentary Motion calling for an investigation into its business practices.
- Yell is currently under investigation by Trading Standards for misrepresentation and breach of contract.
- Yell has publicly admitted that 33% of its customers leave every year, 25% of customers make a complaint, and most of its customer would not recommend Yell to a friend.
Alternatively, you could view Yell’s manipulated Trustpilot rating as an accurate reflection of the company’s reputation. The choice is entirely yours.