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Why It’s Important That Yelp Is Cracking Down On Fake Reviews

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Yelp isn’t just firing employees for calling them out for not paying a living wage, and then raising wages after the fact. The company is also trying to weed out fake reviews left on its website and app.

According to CBS News, the power of Yelp is so mighty in driving customers to various businesses — from restaurants to hospitals — or driving them away, that businesses have started to offer gift certificates or other incentives to get people to leave good reviews, or remove negative ones.

As a result, a marketing research company found that while 70 percent of consumers seek out reviews before they frequent a business, only 59 percent trust those reviews.

So, Yelp has a team that finds companies offering these incentives, or people selling good reviews, and then utilizes a number of techniques to catch the scammers, as employee Ian MacBean explains:

“We might see something on Craiglist saying, ‘Hey, I’m offering $20 for positive reviews on Yelp.’ … Odds are we’re going to be among the first people to respond to that offer on Craigslist or Fiver or wherever else it may be,” MacBean said.

Incentivizing reviews like this can be dangerous stuff. CBS News spoke with a man who left a bad review for an emergency clinic after a bad experience in getting treatment after a car accident. The clinic tried to offer him a Starbucks gift card to give them a three-star or above rating. Yelp has since flagged this clinic for this practice.

The Federal Trade Commission is paying attention to these “deceptive practices,” too, while Amazon has sued more than 1,000 just this year for actually selling fake reviews.

(Via CBS News)

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