Yelp Publicly Shames Businesses for Using Fake Reviews
A page full of five-star reviews tempts some of the least ethical businesses. Several have tried to game the system, and Yelp is finally taking action. After a sting operation in which a Yelp employee pretended to be an “Elite” reviewer responding to review solicitations on Craigslist, the company caught several businesses red-handed. As a warning to others, Yelp will add a consumer alert to those pages.
It reads: “We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business. We weren’t fooled, but wanted you to know because buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Check out the evidence here” — which links to more details.
The alert will be removed after 90 days unless the business continues to mislead consumers. Currently nine businesses have this alert posted to their pages, but the company will continue dolling them out as needed. Eventually Yelp hopes to be able to notify consumers when a business has received a large amount of reviews from the same IP address.
Whether you’re buying fake Likes, followers, or reviews, you’re not helping anyone, especially not potential customers. Chances are if an experience doesn’t live up to the fake reviews, the real reviews will be harsher than Yelp’s warning.