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Just How Bad Is Yelp’s Fake Review Problem?

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You’re probably aware of multiple controversial issues surrounding Yelp reviews. There are several to choose from. You have some businesses accusing the company of holding positive reviews hostage (with advertising being the ransom). You have a court ordering Yelp to turn over the identities of anonymous Yelp reviewers. You have people paying other people to write fake reviews, whether it’s negative reviews for competitors or positive reviews for their own business.

Do you find Yelp to be a reliable source of information for consumers? Is your own business fairly portrayed? Ever suspected a review was a fake? Let us know in the comments.

These are all issues that Yelp has to deal with on an ongoing basis, and that consumers have to take into consideration every time they read a review on the site. The fake reviews are apparently so prevalent that the company is ramping up its efforts to combat them.

“Consumers, on average, can rely on the content they see on Yelp,” CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said on stage at LeWeb last year. Reassured?

In the fall of 2012, Yelp revealed a new system for combating fake reviews with its Consumer Alerts. Yelp shows warnings to users when they’ve found businesses that have paid for reviews. If you come across such a business listing, you’re greeted with a Consumer Alert, which explains that they’ve caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews.

Yelp Consumer Alerts

Yelp doesn’t kick the business out of its service, but the embarrassing warning appears on the business listing for three months. Yelp has hoped that this would serve as a deterrent. Just how well it’s actually working remains a mystery. So far, Yelp has reportedly issued 285 of the alerts with more on the horizon.

Stoppleman was interviewed for an article this week by The Telegraph. He talked about how the company is conducting “sting operations,” where Yelpers pose at users willing to write paid reviews. It’s only been happening in the U.S. so far, but is about to be expanded into Europe.

“It has been incredibly successful in that we have been able to catch businesses red handed,” Stoppleman is quoted as saying of the sting operations.

But how successful has Yelp really been at spotting fake reviews? Catching people red-handed is one thing. How many are not being caught?

Yelp has certainly been using the law to go after paid reviews, but a lot of this has been happening well after the Consumer Alerts system was put in place. Last summer, Yelp sued BuyYelpReview.com, obviously for selling reviews (not the latest such suit filed by Yelp).

Apparently Yelp has busted quite a few businesses over the past year. It had already caught nine when it first launched the Consumer Alerts, then launched another round of them in August. With the number approaching 300, it would appear that the program, at least initially, did little to deter the practice (though Stoppleman told the Telegraph it’s “obviously a deterrent”).

“We’ve seen some pretty extreme chicanery in connection with these businesses, including people buying fake reviews, offering rewards or discounts for reviews or having a large number of reviews submitted from the same Internet Protocol (IP) address (a clue that someone may be trying to artificially inflate their rating),” said Yelp VP of Consumer & Mobile Products Eric Singley in August.

In September, a Harvard Business School study suggested that 16% of Yelp restaurant reviews are potentially fake.

Luther Lowe, director of public policy at Yelp, tells us that 16% figure is misleading, as “HBS used reviews Yelp identified as suspicious (not ‘fake’) to run [its] analysis. 25% suppressed not 16%.”

Yelp responded to the study, saying that the findings “shouldn’t come as a complete surprise.”

“As consumers increasingly turn to online reviews to find a local business, the incentive to artificially improve one’s reputation also increases,” the company said. “But neither should the fact that Yelp has been on guard against these very same reviews from our earliest days.”

It went on to talk up its controversial review filter.

That same month, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that nineteen companies agreed to stop writing fake Yelp reviews and pay over $350,000 of fines.

“Consumers rely on reviews from their peers to make daily purchasing decisions on anything from food and clothing to recreation and sightseeing,” he said. “This investigation into large-scale, intentional deceit across the Internet tells us that we should approach online reviews with caution.”

“We think it’s great the New York Attorney General took action against these businesses that try to mislead consumers. In fact, we helped him,” said Yelp Senior Litigation Counsel Aaron Schur. “Because Yelp uses sophisticated software to filter reviews and weed out less reliable ones, we identify — and take action against — concerted campaigns to game the system quite frequently. As a result, we were able to give the NY AG’s office some solid leads on which businesses to go after.”

“And we have more,” he added. “We would love to work with law enforcement officials in other states to crack down on this unethical practice.”

Meanwhile, there are more reviews being posted to Yelp than ever. In the second half of 2013, Yelp added the ability to review businesses from its mobile apps. Earlier this month, Yelp boasted 47 million reviews, seemingly encouraging the saturation of the site with reviews by recognizing a guy who wrote 1,712 in 2013 alone. Perhaps more reviews means better odds of drowning out the fake ones.

At least Yelp isn’t eager to roll over on fake reviews without significant evidence. Despite being ordered to do so, Yelp has been resistant to handing over the names of anonymous users, whom a business alleges wrote fake negative reviews about it.

How bad is Yelp’s fake review problem? Do you think Yelp is doing a good job of keeping it under control? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Just How Bad Is Yelp’s Fake Review Problem?
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  • destin garis

    I work as a bartender in San Diego at a small sports bar. The owner has been asking me to investigate what can be done about the old reviews and pictures on the yelp page. His English is rough, but he is stressed that a past employee is in many of the pictures.
    Yelp simultaneously helps and tarnishes the reputations of business. The establishment is a bar, therefore there are images of people getting loose. While reviews are informal, a picture is too invasive on others privacy. Especially for those background people in the pictures unknowingly. Yelp shouldn’t be used to embarass people, especially customers.
    -Destin Garis @CJ’s Lounge

  • http://esolsea.com CNXTim

    not only Yelp but other review sites, TripAdvisor is also complicit in this scam

  • http://iowacityautorepair.net Michael O’Reilly

    They are 90% fake. Just read them. The only thing Yelp is good for is the listings. Fivver sells Yelp reviews very cheap!

  • http://www.colesvilletravel.com Cynthia Amin

    I have a very big problem with Yelp. There are bogus reviews on their site about my business and Yelp refuses to take them down. Somebody in California, I live in MD and sell travel in MD, put a bad review about me on there and Yelp refuses to take it down. I have no idea who this person is and I have tried to contact them. All of my positive reviews are buried where no one can see them. I had a couple of dissatisfied customers and they put negative stuff on Yelp and Yelp does not care no matter how many times I contact them. They are horrible and somebody needs to do something about them. They are totally unfair and they filter out your good reviews and only show the negative one.

  • http://www.forestsoftware.co.uk John

    Sadly this is a problem with review sites generally in my view – I know of people who post positive reviews on Trip Adviser because they are friends with the owner or have a business relationship with the owner but have never stayed at the place in question.

    Then you have the opposite problem of legitimate reviews on Google+ pages for small businesses being removed for no apparent reason (I know of a small business here in North Wales in the UK that has had reviews from overseas customers removed even though they ship their products world-wide).

    It’s almost as if the whole review business (and any perceived benefit from it) has got out of control. I just wish there was some sort of reasonable answer to the problem but I don’t know what it is, all I do know is that I don’t pay any attention to reviews as they are too easily manipulated.

  • Jody

    Yelp keeps calling to try to get me to advertise my business. I have asked numerous times where my good reviews have gone. The answer I was given is that is only stays up for a short time unless the reviewer has several yelp reviews for businesses. So, the bad reviews are from people who have nothing better to do than bash businesses!

    • Patt

      I have read many, many filtered reviews that I don’t understand why they were filtered. Some good, some bad, some in the middle.

      But the persistent commonality among those filtered is that the reviewer does not post a picture of themselves, and they have one or two reviews.

      It’s Yelp’s robo-filterer that does this, I think. I’ve never had one of my reviews filtered — even when I had just one or two reviews. All of mine are real.

  • http://yelp ruth sirgo

    I find yelp to not be a reliable source for busisness . I do agree positive reviews are held back and could be used to drive competiton out .

  • Dan C

    Yelp is a scam as they don’t post all reviews. They have a pattern of posting the bad reviews and then offering to help clients with their feedback problems. I have read many complaints from lots of businesses about how they operate.

    • Patt

      I disagree, Dan. All of my reviews have been posted — the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve gotten merchant responses on some of my “bad” or mediocre reviews. And I’ve gotten merchant responses on some of my “good” reviews.

      Yelp is not a scam. I read reviews carefully, though, for signs of generalities. And I check people’s profiles, if a review reads suspiciously.

  • JJ

    Agreed. As an executive assistant, we’ve had problems with our competitors going onto Yelp just to post false reviews about our company.

    Even positive reviews can be false. These can easily be posted from people from Fiverr or social media companies that do “reputation management”.

  • Susan

    I looked at Yelp reviews for restaurants in my area about two years ago. One stood out as being “the best Chinese restaurant – ever”. We drove 45 minutes to the restaurant where we were served the worst Chinese food that we have ever had anywhere. Either our taste differs radically from the reviewers or these were inflated reviews. This was my third such experience. I have never visited Yelp again – and would never rely on reviews there to pick anything.

  • FakeReviews

    The majority of anonymous review sites are fake reviews. I run a business and know that if a person has a real positive or negative experience with a company they have no problem sharing their identity to back it up. Our liable laws would never let people get away with what is currently happening on anonymous internet review sites. The law will catch up to these companies, and the courts will be able to force Yelp and Tripadvisor to release the fake reviewer’s identities or hold Yelp and Tripadvisor responsible for their actions. The courts also need to look closer at the relationship to positive reviews and advertising. It should come as no surprise that businesses on Yelp that advertise have a net positive review score while businesses that do not have a net negative score. Yelp doesn’t care about fake reviews, if they did they would just confirm the reviewer’s identity and relationship to the business before they post the review, this is reasonable practice, the BBB does it. The only reason Yelp cracked down on companies selling fake reviews is they didn’t want anybody else making money on their anonymous fake review scam.

    • Tomas Dalin

      Well put. I am a business owner in Austin Tx. My suggestion is any review that affects a rating (1-5 stars) must be verifiable, the poster must supply evidence of an actual business transaction and it must be verified. As far as the ranting and raving that some folks do they can do that amongst their circle of friends, I could care less. I have reviews about my business that if they were true, I should have been arrested by now and not have an A+ BBB score.

  • http://www.localmarketingus.com Max Weiss

    Yelp is horrible. I have 4 positive reviews from actual clients, yet their automated system won’t show them except if you click a link that says 4 reviews that are not currently recommended. It’s a joke. Furthermore, they gave me some free credits to run ads and it was an absolute waste.. they charge 3.67 a click that produces 0 results. Where do they get off charging that much per click? who do they think they are, Google?

    I would never recommend Yelp for anything other than a basic listing

  • Missy

    Yelp is a waste of time, I put some nice reviews on and wasted my time…they filtered my reviews so whats the point? Use another reputable source of information, Yelp is a JOKE!~~

  • http://ADAMSTREE.NET DARYL ADAMS

    Yelp and Angie’s List pull the same unscrupulous bullying against honest hard working professional businesses. They write phony reviews and then contact you using high pressure sales people to get you to pay a fee to better your position in their own reviewing system. If and when you get an honest good review they delete it. The bad reviews that they wrote stay forever.
    They are internet con artists that are not concerned with anything but making money for themselves even if they ruin or tarnish a good company’s reputation to do so.

    • anna

      you are totally wrong about Angies List and have NO CLUE. Angies List requires a membership and each membership is paid for with a credit card that includes a billing address. As a business on Angies List we are notified of each review as well as the name and address of the person who wrote it . I predict Yelp to self implode within the next 2 years.

  • http://www.mrtechnique.com Tom Nguyen

    I actually like using Yelp to find a good restaurant. I believe most of the reviews are real. When looking for a restaurant, I haven’t been steered wrong yet. Now as far as service industries? I don’t trust Yelp. I go to Angie’s List for that. They’re review system is thorough.

  • Scott Harlan

    Yelp is not business friendly, review system crooked. They place competitors paid ads in middle of businesses listing to try an extort you to buy an ad. Requsted my listing be removed and wouldnt allow me to do so. STAY away from Yelp

  • http://1newyorkbartendingschool.com Dennis

    Hi,

    I’ve been a member of YELP , as a business owner, for years. I personally think the reviews and how they handle it are a bunch of crap. If someone wants to post fake reviews they will find a way. But what I have found is even legitimate reviews suffer. I own a bartending school and have used YELP for advertisement. I get on the average 15 new students weekly. When they graduate I ask them to write a review if they so feel inclined about their experience here at the school, etc. In my case I don’t need to have any fake reviews posted b/c of the number of students I have weekly. To date YELP has pulled 14 reviews and left only 2. I called asking what was the problem. The tech was nice enough and said yeah it looks like in my case legit ones got pulled but there was nothing he could do it was all software controlled.
    So, in a nutshell, I really don’t see it as being advantageous. Fake ones could remain, legitimate ones get pulled.

    • Patt

      Dennis, I think the problematic thing is the Yelp robo-filter. I’ve read so many filtered reviews that I don’t understand why they were filtered — bad, good indifferent.

  • http://www.cartridgesave.co.uk Alex Morris

    It’s not just Yelp, Amazon’s another major source of fake reviews. I read of a disastrous video game recently, Limbo of the Lost, which got banned for blatant plagiarism. Before it was removed from stores it was obvious the developers had been sticking 5/5 rave reviews on Amazon to boost it, fooling a few people in the process.

    I think fake reviews are pretty easy to spot. Fawning sycophancy is usually the first sign.

  • http://www.design42.com Carla Kirby

    I used to check reviews and rely heavily on them. Then I turned my cabin into a vacation rental. I only have one cabin. I know exactly who I rented to. These weird negative reviews started showing up that had NOTHING to do with my cabin. I don’t know who in the world was posting them. Competition? How much competition was I to anyone? People who were confused and thought they stayed at my cabin? People with too much time on their hands? The negative reviews did not seem to affect rental. The cabin stayed booked solid, even though it was the most expensive in the area. It doesn’t matter at all any more, since we now live here year round.
    Anyway, I don’t even bother checking reviews any more. Why bother?

  • Andor

    So Yelp attempted to con our business. We set up a profile year ago and forgot about it. Then suddenly years later it was in the top three searches on Google relating to our business search. There were two bad reviews from people we had never met who we can confidently say we had never done business with.
    We contacted Yelp and they said the only way they would remove the reviews is if we advertise with them! It was pay to play!!! We tried to close the profile, anything… We were shocked and mad by their lack of co-operation.
    So after a few weeks we did what we had to and got several friends to post fake positive reviews… It was the only options. So Yelp!!! Your Con is UP!!!

    • Patt

      That’s unsettling to hear about your experience with Yelp.

      It should not happen like this.

      You’re being held hostage.

  • TM

    What a big surprise. We received a bad yelp review and sent a message to the allegedly bad review and have not heard back from the reviewer. Not to mention that yelp has allegedly put our business in their company review Que so we cannot not receive or send message to the reviewer until they have verified our business and we did the verification over a year ago.

    It’s entirely possible to purchase business information and then allegedly post a negative review so you lure the business into yelp. it would surprise me if some of this is some sort of sneaky & sleazy marketing tactic to promote business into yelp.

  • Bill

    I think it is sad that corruption has to get into every part of our lives. If a person is not a customer they should not be allowed to post reviews negative or positive. If a person post a review about a business, then they should not be allowed to hide their identity. Small business owners work very hard for their businesses and reputation. Yelp should work businesses when this occurs to flush out the crooks, not defend the cowardly efforts. In my opinion this is just another form of cyber crime and should be punished as such. People who spend their time trying to hurt someone else should get a real life of their own.

  • TM

    One good option is to is a service such as Bazaar Reviews Express where the user in identified as a “Verified Buyer”. All you have to do is create on order feed and upload it and they email your customers asking them to come back and review. If you do get a bad review you have all the information to try and make it right on the spot. You have way more control over the entire review process.

  • Sarah

    Yelp is run so poorly. You have people creating fake accounts and posting negative reviews for personal vendettas and competition.

    We are also now experiencing a Troll Problem. People reading negative reviews and calling on them specifically. Asking questions regarding other people’s experience and then nit picking. It’s very strange.

  • http://dansullivaninsurance.com/ Dan Sullivan

    We had an honest review pulled and thanks goodness have not had the “mob” style pressure applied that others are talking about. I would rather have a hidden review that is good than a false bad one!

  • http://www.reysplace.net Michael Rey

    I’m a Mexican Restaurant owner. My staff is trained to Greet, Seat the customers, ask what they would like to drink. As most importantly, how did you hear about us. I will not defend Yelp. However, I do get a lot of referrals from Yelp. My staff and I encourage them to leave a review on Yelp, Urbanspoon, Google, and a few other sites. I do not that the reviews I have on my Yelp page are real, and are not fake.
    On the other hand, they do have something going on that I hate. The way the handle there reviews. I have had a couple of 1 star ratings that did effect my overall rating. Some how, it got buried in what they call a filter program. I guess Yelp has some computer way of how to choose which reviews will be posted on the main review page. Scroll to the bottom of any restaurant page. Look for a little red “filter” click on that. See for yourself.
    I believe it is a ploy to advertise with them is you are a restaurant owner. In this filter area I have several 5 star ratings as well as a couple of 1 star ratings. Funny, all the ratings started on the front page of reviews, and got sent to the filter area. Some one day a 5 star rating is in the front…next week it’s back in the filter area.
    So the ratings are not fake, but the way the filter each review is fake. In my opinion.

  • http://www.brake-guard.com Lawrence Jones

    Yelp Is A Scam. You Pay Them Or They Trash You!

  • Thyra26

    What SHOULD be investigated is the process by which YELP “hides” and filters reviews. I went to a medical facility where a family member later died and found YELP had suppressed 30% of their 2013 reviews ALL of which were 1 STAR. When I tried to post a 1 STAR review my review was also immediately filtered/deleted. YELP is a dangerous site that clearly misrepresents information based upon whether or not a business advertises. They should be SHUT DOWN.

    • http://wwwthesolarbiz.com Tom Duffy

      We have 5 legitimate good reviews which were filtered and one Negative review from someone who wasn’t even our customer which is the only review that shows. I think YELP is crap, there’s no reason for them to filter reviews from anyone. They need to figure out some other way to qualify the reviewers to weed out the fake reviewers.

  • http://SouthwestWebs.com Michael Davis

    I called Yelp twice a couple years ago to tell them about someone offering payment for reviews on Yelp. It was a craigslist (another unconcerned company), ad.

    I was told they were aware of it and taking action to stop it. I do internet marketing and advise my clients to not get involved withYelp. But how, when they will post reviews even if you are not a member?

    Time for a class action suit asking for the total damages to all businesses they have brought harm to businesses.

    Hey, maybe Yelp contracts with big business like WalMart to run the small guy out of business. Just a thought.

    • http://wwwthesolarbiz.com Tom Duffy

      Even the name “YELP” has a negative connotation which shows that bad reviews are their business.

  • http://whangareiholidayhouses.co.nz Mike

    I have just had my first time problem with a reviewer attempting to blackmail us into a refund they were not entitled to after cancelling a reservation on the arrival date. They proceeded putting a ridiculous review up on T A full of lies and extreme exaggerations. We filed a management complaint asking to remove the review on the grounds of blackmail. A so called investigation was supposedly carried out (we were never contacted at all???) They have listed this online. I think there is 2 sides here and until these websites operate more professionally this will continue. T A seems to love negative reviews fake or exaggerated for their ratings. (People love to read dirt on businesses), Genuine negative formally written can be helpful to owners and future guests. Also positive ratings can be an asset to decision making. Reviewers need to have a strict set of guidelines be brief informative. We have been operating for over 7 years never been confronted by a rude extreme group of people like this. I think they arrived early because they had found another cheaper place they liked and wanted to change. They manufactured this situation in an attempt to force a refund.

  • http://www.belfast-architects.co.uk Alan

    The business model is hopelessly flawed. Who writes reviews. SERIOUSLY!!
    1. A disgruntled former employee.
    2. A competitor.
    3. Some crank with a grudge about the world or someone who gets pleasure in some perverted way from writing bad reviews.
    4 Someone paid to write the review (good or bad).
    5 A relative or friend of the owner.
    6 The types who think the world should stop when they appear. The people you could never please.

    I have heard of people turning up at businesses and mentioning that they were often offered money to write good reviews (obviously with the intention of receiving the same, or if they did not then the review may be poor!)

    How often do you write a review for good service? Seldom. So the bias is already towards those complaining.

    I would NEVER write a bad review of a small business. Reason is I simply do not have the information necessary to make that sort of overall judgement. I once read a review of a business where the owner was described as sullen (or similar). The owners child was dying so how is she supposed to behave?

    We should all sit down a write excellent reviews of the local businesses where we get good service, and just ignore the others. Forget the bad reviews and the negative.

    • Jan

      I agree completely. Better yet, write the reviews on their Google Plus page where it really counts and helps.

    • Patt

      I disagree, Alan. I write Yelp reviews for nearly every place I go. Not necessarily EVERY time I go . . . like the grocery store.

      But my reviews are sincere, real and I get nothing for writing them.

  • Steven Erlich

    John Taffer loves his Yelp reviews. I think accuracy depends on the market and the quality of the COMPANY being reviewed. Any well rated company won’t (or at least shouldn’t) risk their already outstanding reputation to get a few fake reviews up there. A dying restaurant in a bad location would definitely be more prone to giving themselves some fake reviews, especially if their reputation is already poor.

    I’m glad to see actions being taken against companies with fake reviews. Getting real reviews is not easy to do. You have to stand out. Getting bad reviews is easy. Hence the abundance of fake reviews.

    • Patt

      Very interesting perspective, Steven.

      I agree with the actions against fake reviews, and merchants who elicit fake favorable positive reviews of their business or fake unfavorable reviews of their competitors.

      The consistent mention of Yelp Headquarters squeezing for advertising money is disconcerting.

  • http://autoaccidentpersonalinjuryattorney.com/ P I Attorney

    The U. S. Constitution guarantees Freedom of Speech. Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater is not Freedom of Speech nor are slanderous or libelous remarks made in a Yelp review.

    The only defense against Libel or Slander is truth. If someone posted a BAD fictitious review on Yelp against me – both the reviewer and Yelp would probably get sued.

    On the other hand I’ve know guys who posted fake reviews on their Yelp page thinking that it would generate new business. As far as I know, it did not.

    I don’t read Yelp reviews because I doubt very many of them are genuine.

  • Mark Daly

    Took Yelp four days to take down my nonsense post. Non-moderated opinions aren’t worth a toss. Blondie rule!

  • Jan

    One thing they won’t allow which is crazy – for Realtors to compliment and endorse other Realtors. They will take down any type of review like that. For my two cents, having another agent to vouch for one is worth more than a home buyer that got good service (most do) and was probably asked to write the review for the agent.

    • http://www.lodichiropractor.com Toni Reynolds

      I wrote a good review for a local health food store that I often refer patients to. I am not much of a retailer and love that there is a great store down the street that patients can easily access. Yelp took down my review stating I violated some terms of service because I do business with the health food store. Asinine! The owner of that store wouldn’t know me if she saw me…and in a town this size I do business with most of downtown Lodi…so I can’t have an opinion?

  • http://www.networkingforus.com Dindar -Work from home opportunity

    I used to have a business listed on Yelp and they held 5 positive reviews hostage. They would not count them toward my ranking. When I learned that paying them was the way to release them, I stopped contributing to them. I know of two local restaurants having same issues with Yelp. My SEO company had their running with yelp too. When they threatened yelp with legal actions Yelp stopped indexing their page so that they are not coming up in searches anymore. I don’t trust Yelp and would never pay for their services.

    • http://www.wildernessunlimited.com Rich

      Does anybody know of a method or phone number to call to just have your Yelp review site removed altogether?
      Who needs then anyway?

  • http://www.lodichiropractor.com Toni Reynolds

    Yelp is adamant regarding the exposure of fake reviews while fervently filtering legitimate reviews. If a business, by notarized affidavit, can produce legal validation of their reviews then those reviews should be accepted and weigh in the “star” rating. The “algorithm” only legitimizes “yelpers” not the first (and sometimes only) review.
    The fact that N.Y. Atty. General puts such trust in Yelp’s “sophisticated software” is frightening. Yelp senior litigator, Aaron Schur, thinks it is great that there was “action aginst these businesses that try to mislead consumers”. I ask what about action against the consumer that is trying to mislead other consumers? Words are powerful and one should be held accountable for what they write. If you libel, you have crossed the line and should be prepared to defend your lies. Why Yelp embraces defamy puzzles me. Equally puzzling is the choice of the word “Yelp” for a website that is supposed to be upbeat and fun. Not!

  • http://champagnescajunswamptours.com Scott

    I have had success in getting bad and fake competitor reviews removed in the past month. Usually takes 5 weeks for Yelp to complete.

  • http://morningloryflowers.com/blog Alex

    Everyone survive in this crazy world in different ways.

  • angelo laurence

    Any site that trades positive reviews for advert cannot be held as creditable. Good business principles and fair and honest are always the path that keeps customers, not rip offs. Yelp will yelling for help pretty soon.

  • http://www.lawyernortheastphiladelphia.com Max

    I find yelp to not be a reliable source for busisness , Google Plus page is the best

  • http://abc-patent.ru Vlad

    Yelp is not very reliable marketing tool. The idea is old, but its implementation is very unfortunate. Although turnover of 138 million dollars in 2012, says that many people use this service.

  • http://www.zeonwebvertise.co.uk james43

    TripAdvisor is also bad had a client who ran a hotel and he had his employees post positive reviews for him.

  • Kendall

    Interesting that Yelp is attempting to be “legit.”
    In my experience I have seen them delete negative reviews from deserving businesses at the business’ request. Along with this, they have deleted user accounts that post negative reviews of the same businesses.
    Yelp is a for-profit company. It seems they cater more to business than to customers or users. When a review service is curating reviews for businesses they then become unreliable if not complete irrelevant. What good is a review service that fails to be objective.
    I continually recommend to people to stay away from Yelp.

    • Rick Walter

      Unfortunately this is not accurate. They continually violate their own terms of service especially in cases of the “professional” reviewers that have lots of reviews. The professional reviewers couldn’t use or be a customer of all those companies, therefore the service reviews are not accurate representations of what kind of service they did get, but rather what kind of service they perceived they might get. Those reviews are rarely if ever removed even in the case of multiple requests. In fact, given the accolades they give those “reviewers”, they encourage that kind of business demagoguery….

  • Jacquelyn Denise

    I am personally aware of a situation where a negative reviewed violated Yelp’s TOS and after complaining the business owner got the review removed. The complainer then merely reposted the review AND had additional people post complaints supporting the original complainer(they were NOT in fact customers of the business and state so in their reviews). Yelp now refuses to remove these multi-violations of their own TOS. Yelp reviews cannot be trusted because Yelp will enforce even its own rules against illegimate posts.

    • Jacquelyn Denise

      Sorry for the typo. Yelp reviews cannot be trusted because Yelp will NOT enforce even its own rules against illegimate posts.

  • http://www.wowserswebdesign.com Valerie Lancaster

    Im sure that there are “fake” reviews. Yelp, without contacting the business, filters at random reviews and there isn’t really a way to get the reviews “unfiltered.” My business has 15+ great and honest reviews from clients – Yelp has filtered all but one. What’s the point of asking a client to “Yelp” a review if they aren’t visible. Very frustrating.

  • http://www.leaningtreemarketing.com Michelle Bobzien

    I have an online reputation program through my agency, and represent several clients. Each of my clients have a problem with YELP holding positive reviews hostage. Yelp is not hesitant to post a negative review, but definitely holds back on the good ones. Very frustrating.

  • http://www.chathambeauty.net Brenda King

    Yelp, It should be called Help me Not…. I expanded my business last
    year and have had several clients put reviews on yelp and they have been taken off because yelp said they where not real…
    Really??? How do you remove your information from their website.
    Thank you very much for your assistance.
    Brenda King
    Chatham Beauty & Bridal
    1223 Main Street
    Chatham, MA 02633
    508-348-1681

    • Sharon Moak

      You can’t remove your information from their web site. Don’t even ask, or they will punish you by filtering out more of your good reviews. It’s part of their extortion game.

  • http://saywowmarketing.com Vickie Siculiano

    Reviews, especially for restaurants, are an important part of the social proof needed to give the restaurant clout. Yelp is not the only place for reviews, in fact, google is a very valuable place for reviews, especially since it’s high up on the seo chain of command. Every restaurant and bar should be actively seeking reviews on their Google + page, which is free, and which they should have grabbed onto by now. As a manager of a yelp page, you can comment on your negative customer reviews and take control of the situation rather than passively accepting them. And people like to see owners involved and that you “hear” what they have to say. Vickie Siculiano, Say WOW Marketing

  • Lois Steiner

    We received a very negative review about 2 years ago and could not get any response from the reviewer. From the comments it sounded very much like a competitor had written it because we have never had any client feel the way the comment expressed (and it was overly technical), quite the opposite – they love us, but we don’t solicit comments for our professional work. When we contacted Yelp for help they said they would not pull it even though all of the comments this person had reviewed were very negative and sounded canned. Their suggestion was – just get a lot of positive comments! I thought – sure why not build up their business while they let someone ruin ours because we don’t activel solicit positive comments!