The government wants your Yelp reviews

The government wants your Yelp reviews
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Yelp users will have greater ability to praise — and possibly trash — federal agencies now that the government has entered an agreement to use the online review platform. 

Yelp on Tuesday announced it reached a terms of service agreement with the federal government that will allow agencies and branch offices to set up their own Yelp pages and respond to constituent comments. 

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The agreement will also allow the government to claim Yelp pages that have already been set up in their name, so they can track comments and respond. 

Among the terms is Yelp’s assurance that it would bar ads from appearing on government Yelp pages. It also spelled out that the agreement is not part of any financial deal. 

“With the addition of Public Services and Government under the Yelp umbrella, agencies can continue to find new ways to use customer insights to improve citizen services,” said Justin Herman, who works for DigitalGov, within the General Services Administration. 

Herman revealed the agreement earlier this month in a little noticed blog post

It is unclear exactly which agencies and branch departments will utilize the new tool. A host of government pages have existed for years for local post offices, libraries and TSA posts. 

The agreement will allow those branches to claim the existing pages if they want.

Many of the “Public Service & Government” listings in Washington currently relate to tourist and historical sites. There are also a few more novel listings, such as 11 reviews of the U.S. Capitol’s underground railway that shuttles members and staff between their offices and the floor and six reviews of Rep. Mark Takano’s (D-Calif.) office. 

A number of House members in the New Democrats Coalition previously called to boost transparency and accountability by setting up a type of “Yelp for government.” But the company said Tuesday, “luckily for them, they don’t need to create a new platform.”