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You can now rate U.S. government agencies on Yelp

What could go wrong?


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Posted on Aug 18, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 3:33 am CDT

On a scale of zero to five stars, how would you rate the U.S. federal government?

A new initiative from the General Services Administration’s (GSA) DigitalGov team will encourage you to review federal agencies on Yelp the same way millions of people review a wide range of businesses on the popular site.


The goal is to have federal agencies use the feedback in a way that will lead to improved services, the Washington Post reports.

Yelp already hosts a number of reviews for government services in the Public Services & Government section, but none of the pages are official, so it’s unclear whether any actual government employees are reading what you write.

There will be no ads run on the official government review pages because, presumably, Yelp is counting on new visitors staying on the site after government services bring them. And although Yelp is providing the service for free, the federal government will have to pay staff to review and act upon the feedback.

“It’s clear Washington is eager to engage with people directly through social media,” a Yelp spokesperson explained in a statement. “Earlier this year, a group of 46 lawmakers called for the creation of a ‘Yelp for Government’ in order to boost transparency and accountability, and [Wisconsin Democrat] Representative Ron Kind reiterated this call in a letter to the [GSA]. Luckily for them, there’s no need to create a new platform now that government agencies can engage directly on Yelp.”

From the shockingly well-reviewed midtown Manhattan Department of Motor Vehicles to the much more abysmal California Department of Rehabilitation, government institutions at all levels have already attracted wave after wave of feedback.

Now, the hope is that the feedback will actually be used to make things better.

H/T Washington Post |Illustration by Max Fleishman

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*First Published: Aug 18, 2015, 4:39 pm CDT