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Yelp Adds Evidence to Review Fraud Warnings

Yelp has taken a bolder step in its fight against review fraud.

For a couple of years now, it has shown a consumer alert on a business' listing page when that business was found to be encouraging review fraud.

Now, Yelp is linking to evidence it found that (allegedly) proves the business owner (or management) in question was attempting review fraud.

Yelp review fraud comes in 3 flavors:

  • Paying people to write a fake review (for own business or a competitor)
  • Paying or otherwise compensating a customer for a positive review
  • Paying or otherwise compensating a customer to remove a negative review.

In each of these cases, if Yelp has the fraud evidence digitized, it will show a link to "Show me the evidence".

Yelp review fraud consumer alert with evidence link

When clicked, visitors can see for themselves the lengths the business took to improve its rating.

In the cases we've seen, Yelp either received a copy of correspondence between a user and a business, or Yelp itself responded to a business on Craigslist, posing as someone who would write a fake review.

Paying to Write a Fake Review

Business owner attempting to buy fake review

Paying for a positive review from a customer

Business paying for fake Yelp review

Paying a customer to remove a negative review

Business paying to have Yelp review removed

In Closing

Don't try to buy reviews. There are better ways to improve your ratings:

  • Extraordinary customer service
  • Responding to Yelp reviews on your Yelp business page
  • Patience with entitled Yelpers that don't deserve your patience

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