Yelp vs. YouTube: A Ratings Showdown

YouTube caused a little stir recently when the company posted a graph
on its blog
showing the distribution of user ratings of videos on the site. Like
Yelp, YouTube offers a five-star rating system, with five being the
highest. As you can see on the graph, YouTube users gave one star to a
few videos, and five stars to virtually all the rest. Very few got
anything in between; folks either hate or love YouTube videos, and
mostly love ’em. Which raised an important question for the folks at
YouTube: how useful is a rating system if most videos get the highest

Some people seem to think that online reviews are exactly that, only
rants or raves, resulting in consumer websites comprised solely of
ratings on the extremes. Which, we agree, wouldn’t be very helpful.

But we see something entirely different here on Yelp. To date Yelpers
have written more than seven million reviews and the star ratings are
spread across the board.

at the chart you’ll find that 85% of all reviews are neutral to
positive. Yelpers, being the passionate local consumers that they are,
use the site much like a blog. They are reviewing their day to day
experiences with local businesses and the distribution is a direct
reflection of that. More often than not we are patronizing three and
four-star businesses. Think back: how many one-star experiences have
you had this month?

Sure there is the occasional Yelper who
has all one-star reviews. But as a reader when you look at that profile
you have to step back and wonder “either this person is a complete
Debbie Downer, or they were kicking puppies in a previous life and have
some serious bad karma when it comes to choosing local businesses.” You
make the call.

Yelp offers not just lots of reviews, but lots of varied experiences from which to choose. Isn’t diversity great?!