Companies who use fake yelp reviews will have to wear the red badge of shame for no less than three months. You cannot believe everything you find on the Internet, and that is a known fact – especially when it comes to fake reviews generated by companies themselves. It is not uncommon for companies to pay people to write exciting, positive reviews to attract prospects – some businesses even pay writers to write negative yelp reviews about the products or services of their competition.
Although authority websites can do little to prevent this type of fraud, Yelp has started to take serious measures against these fake reviews by penalizing companies who use them. The shame of having a red warning label on their Yelp profile will, hopefully, prevent business owners from cheating. The red badge says: “We caught somebody trying to buy reviews for this company”. The red alert box adds: “We were not fooled, we just wanted to let you know that buying reviews not only hurts the customers, but the honest businesses as well”.
Eric Singley On Fake Yelp Reviews
This red alert box cannot be removed for the next 90 days, unless the business comes with solid evidence to support the fact that the yelp reviews were genuine and honest. Eric Singley, the vice president of Yelp claimed: “We believe it is the customer’s right to know when somebody is trying to mislead them”. Singley also said: “This breaks every rule of Yelp, not to mention the fact that misleading customers with several fake reviews is very wrong. In order to prevent this, we have started to track down these solicitations and we will not quit”.
How Does The Website Penalize Fake Yelp Reviews?
The red badge of shame was already posted on a few websites, including a company that specializes in treasure hunts, two repair shops as well as a moving business. One of the companies that wear the red badge is located in San Diego and had no less than 91 reviews, almost all of them sporting an impeccable 5-star rating. According to Yelp statistics, users have posted over 31 million reviews over the past 9 years, and this will make it very difficult for them to spot the fake ones. Singley claims that the website will use several advanced features to detect fake reviews before users have the chance to post them. Moreover, if a business has a high number of different reviews coming from the same IP address, then the chances are that these Yelp reviews are fake.
As many users claim, it is very easy for companies to get Yelp reviews and fake Yelp reviews are highly influential. In addition to Yelp, the well-known website TripAdvisor has also started to post various alerts when they believe a company is using fake reviews. Business owners who want to raise brand awareness and attract customers seem to post offers on websites like Craigslist, where they can find writers willing to write positive content for a price. A Yelp employee claimed to be an elite reviewer (an elite reviewer is a person who has posted a large number of reviews) and managed to get the companies to reveal themselves. The payments varied greatly, according to the amount of work required.
Some companies pay no more than $5 for high-quality, fake Yelp reviews – others, on the other hand, pay double or even more just to get the top-notch content they are looking for.
Other news sites that posted about this: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/11/yelp-outs-companies-that-pay-for-positive-reviews/ & http://www.businessinsider.com/yelp-cracks-down-on-fake-online-reviews-2012-10