Yelp’s leadership must have been reading about the targeting of individuals the IRS was doing and thought, “Gee, we’d like to be on that list.” The web services company has just announced that it is now expanding its coverage to include government agencies. This will allow users to be able to rank and criticize the service they get from public employees.
The word seems to have spread quickly. Candidate for President Carly Fiorina has got the ball rolling, as reported in Fortune. The Republican has rated the TSA with just a one star rating. She wrote in part, “The TSA spent $160 million of your taxpayer dollars on body scanners that have a 96% failure rate.” Ouch.
Yelp announced their change last Monday, which is sure to fire up political watchers. Expect many reviews of different agencies to roll in, especially around election time next year. The change will certainly raise the profile of the performance and attitude of different offices, but whether or not it will effect change is too early to know.
Not only has Yelp opened up the ability to review these agencies, it openly encourages it. “We encourage Yelpers to review any of the thousands of agency field offices, TSA checkpoints,national parks, Social Security Administration offices, landmarks and other places already listed on Yelp if you have good or bad feedback to share about your experiences,” the company wrote in a statement launching the service.
Yelp’s high profile and credibility may not make many changes within these offices, but will allow citizens to be able to sidestep troublesome locations. Being able to find the best local DMV or entrance to a popular park can make a major difference. The sclerotic rate of change among the heavily-unionized government bureaus will likely remain the same, although sunlight is the best disinfectant.
Keep an eye on Yelp over the next several months and use its services to check in on how local offices and officials react to the changes. Anything that can make government and its quasi government “agencies” like the IRS a little more open, and perhaps even a little more efficient is a welcome, if not expected, change.
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