Online review site Yelp has a message to anyone who might try to enhance their business reputation by writing or buying fake reviews: don’t even try.
In one of its latest moves to combat review fraud, Yelp slapped consumer alerts on the pages of those suspected to be manipulating their ratings and reviews. “While our recommendation software (Review Filter) does a great job weeding out unreliable reviews,” writes Kristen Whisenand, Yelp communications executive, “our investigation team is also always on the job… We issued a new round of Consumer Alerts warnings in connection with a handful of businesses.”
This includes businesses that have already been penalized in previous rounds of consumer alerts. Whisenand says that while these alerts are normally removed after 90 days, Yelp won’t hesitate to continue displaying them. Alerts come with links to evidence of suspicious activity, as well as a message that reads: “We caught someone offering up cash, discounts, gift certificates or other incentives in exchange for reviews about this business. We wanted you to know because buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules.”
“It’s unfortunate that some people are so set on gaming the system (and misleading consumers) that the additional step of posting Consumer Alerts is necessary,” adds Whisenand. “That said… we’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that Yelp remains helpful to consumers.”
Is the authenticity of reviews a growing problem for your business? How do you feel about Yelp’s efforts to address this issue? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.