When it comes time for us to find a local restaurant or review a store or service in our area one of the first places we look is on Google. Once we plug our search results in, there is a good chance that you will find Yelp within your first few listings.
Yelp has become one of the largest and well known resources sites for reviews and information on local and world wide brands and businesses. In short, if you are looking for real customer reviews than this is the site many people are heading to... but with millions upon millions of reviews live on their site, how many of them are authentic or even getting posted to their site?
In a recent post, Brand.com highlighted on the recent news around Yelp.com and how fake reviews are plaguing their site and how they are actually suing a company for posting fake reviews on their site!
So what does this mean for your business, especially if you have an existing business listing on their site?
First of all, as much as you would like to have positive reviews on your site, stay away from any fake review services or posting fake reviews of your own. The last thing you want to do is jeopardize the legitimacy and reputation of your business by trying to look just a little bit better. This will also keep you out of harms way when it comes to Yelp suing their users for any fraudulent activity.
The news of Yelp suing one of their users for posting fake reviews came out just over a week ago. In the news today Yelp made headlines again, and this time it was for the large percentage of fake reviews on their site and the potential amount of "suspicious" reviews that get posted to their site and may never even be seen!
MarketWatch had the following to say on the news.
The number of possibly fraudulent reviews on Yelp rose from 5% in 2006 to 20% in 2013, according to “Fake It Till You Make It: Reputation, Competition, and Yelp Review Fraud,” a report by Luca that was co-written by Georgios Zervas, an assistant professor of marketing at Boston University -- and may now be as high as 25%. These filtered reviews can only be seen by clicking a link at the bottom of the each businesses’ page. As for the remaining 75% of reviews that are not filtered, the study says it’s impossible to know for certain how many are suspect.
It's been an extremely busy past couple of weeks for Yelp and review sites as the Attorney General of New York has also been cracking down on different "review" and "ORM" companies for the fake review practices they have been using to cater to their clients.
With all the attention now on Yelp and review sites, it's only a matter of time before we start to see even more regulation in this space and tighter restrictions on how reviews are placed and monitored online.