Yelp MonsterYelp, the online reviewer of local businesses, announced today that they would make two significant changes to their site.

In response to small business owner complaints and class actions lawsuits, Yelp will now allow readers to click on a link to see reviews that Yelp has filtered out and advertisers will no longer be able to post their favorite reviews at the top of the page.

We know of several Orange County small business owners who will be very pleased by this.

Not sure if it can undo the damage that Yelp has brought to its brand but at least they’re doing something.

I liked Yelp when it first came out.  It’s a very cool tool and there is a reason they get 30 million visitors a month.   Consumers love it.

But a lot of small business owners don’t.

Most likely because Yelp is so powerful. Their most recent valuation came in at $450 million, Bono’s Elevation Partners gave them $100 million to play with.  They have reviewers that can post some pretty nasty stuff and there’s a lot of chatter about the need to pay them (see “advertise”) to protect yourself (see “extortion”).

Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s Co-Founder and CEO, told the New York Times that he is hoping  the changes will “debunk some of the myths and conspiracy theories out there about Yelp and its advertising and whether those are linked.”

Time will tell.

In the meantime, I don’t think they are as scary as the guy above, do you?

If you have a Yelp experience you would like to share, let us know.