Black businesses receive less attention, lower ratings
Are reviews underrated in these communities or are the companies just plain bad?
I love good customer service, great products and delicious food. And if I get all three, I’m especially giddy. It’s the kind of experience that makes me run straight to my computer to brag about a company on Yelp like a parent does when they see a straight-A report card. I prioritize companies that would make me want to do repeat business with them — at least, I thought I did.
It bummed me out a little to see the Brookings report stating, “Businesses in Black neighborhoods receive lower ratings from customers and less attention.” It went on to say that the number of reviews per business sharply falls as the ZIP code’s black population increases. So not only are the reviews low; they’re also minimal — and that goes for whether the store is owned by someone white or a person of color, and largely centers around it being in a black neighborhood. On the other hand, businesses that have a minimal number of black residents receive two times as many business reviews in their neighborhoods.
Initially I wondered was the problem just that black people and other people of color were less likely to join Yelp. I recall how much pushback I got as a web editor for a black-owned newspaper. Some businesses, specifically with an older generation, don’t always see just how much an online presence matters. But according to Yelp’s website, reviews mentioning Black-owned businesses were up more than 617% the summer of 2020 compared to last summer.