Many consumers rely on Yelp, the popular local search engine, when they’re looking for advice on local businesses such as retail stores, restaurants, dry cleaners and yes – healthcare practices. Most small businesses understand that the easiest way to establish a good reputation on Yelp is to provide outstanding service and an excellent product.
While Yelp is deemed very useful for helping people find reputable businesses online, it has been abused by unscrupulous business owners who incentivize people to leave fake reviews that are often misleading. These dishonest business owners take advantage of Yelp by either paying others to write negative reviews about their competitors or positive reviews for their own businesses.
To combat reviews which are not genuine, Yelp has now added evidence of review fraud directly in the reviews section of local businesses. If Yelp replaces the reviews with a “Consumer Alert” box, it may display a button titled “show me the evidence” which will take the user directly to the location online where the business owner has allegedly tried paying someone to post a review. The Consumer Alert box says in part “We caught someone red-handed trying to pay someone to write, change or remove a review for this business”. In addition to seeing the actual listing showing the business owner trying to hire someone to post fraudulent reviews, the user may even see the actual emails exchanged between the Yelp fraud team and the business owner discussing the details of the underhanded activity.
Now that Yelp is identifying and filtering out fraudulent reviews, hopefully this measure will discourage this type of deceitful activity in the future. Yelp’s slogan is “Real people, real reviews” which is exactly what people are searching for and expecting when using Yelp. And of course, the integrity of Yelp’s content is absolutely essential to its usefulness. When Yelp rolled out this update, it said that it plans on “continuing to aggressively fight attempts to abuse the system and to develop innovative techniques for protecting consumers”.
Because the majority of consumers today conduct online research when looking for products and services to use, most business owners know how important good reviews are to their reputation. And, seeing that Yelp is one of the most popular consumer review sites online, having a good reputation there is critical to the health and well-being of a business. It’s in Yelp’s best interest to do all it can to fight fraudulent reviews because if it doesn’t, people will stop using the service. Consumers using Yelp can now feel more confident knowing that the service is publicly calling out businesses that abuse the service.
As an Account Executive at Wpromote, Megan is responsible for assisting clients with their search engine marketing needs. While helping clients become recognized in search engines is an integral part of her job, she is also a regular contributor to the blog. In her spare time, Megan enjoys Dodger games and trying out new recipes like chocolate chip cookie dough truffles! Learn more about Wpromote at TeleVox.Wpromote.com