These days, online reviews posted by consumers can make or break a business. That’s why companies are so eager to drive positive word of mouth online. Sadly, some resort to paying for fake reviews. Why? Because generating good ones is difficult.
It’s not an ethical practice, though. Faking online reviews is deceptive, and it also hurts honest business owners who play by the rules.
Popular consumer review site Yelp has been very active when it comes to fighting review fraud. Just a little over a month ago, it released a round of consumer alerts designed to expose business owners trying to game its system. Then last week, Yelp sued a law firm for allegedly posting fake positive reviews.
Apart from these online review monitoring efforts, Yelp also has the Review Filter, a system that’s designed to weed out the fakes. This filter has caused a bit of controversy: Yelp users complain that their first, earliest reviews almost always get filtered. It’s also hard for some reviews to stick because the algorithms of the filter constantly work to identify potentially fake reviews.
This week, Yelp released a statement that it filters as much as 25 percent of reviews. That’s 1 out of 4 identified as fake and not trustworthy. Therefore, they never get published.
“(Yelp sifts) through more than 42 million reviews contributed to find the most reliable and helpful ones,” wrote Vince Sollitto, VP of Communications and Public Affairs for Yelp. “We highlight these for consumers by publishing them on our business listing pages. Those reviews that don’t make the cut – which include the ones we think might come from the businesses themselves – get filtered out.”
Sollitto explained that the filtered 25 percent of reviews don’t get published on Yelp’s business listings. “The study’s findings shouldn’t come as a complete surprise,” Sollitto added. “As consumers increasingly turn to online reviews to find a local business, the incentive to artificially improve one’s reputation also increases.”
Getting past Yelp’s sensitive review filter can be difficult, all right. But if you’re trying to improve your business’ online reputation, buying fake reviews is not exactly the best way to do it.
Here at ReviewTrackers, we believe in playing by the rules. That’s why our work revolves around creating a review monitoring and reputation management tool that improves your Web presence as effectively – and as ethically – as possible. Not only do we track all major online review sites; we also develop super-cool review management capabilities and features that enable business owners to understand customer insights, generate authentic feedback, and improve business performance.
Want to find out more about how ReviewTrackers can help? Get in touch today.