Yelp (News - Alert) has long been a company specializing in community based review websites. The site has been a place where people have gone out of their way to tell their friends and even complete strangers how they feel about a restaurant or even one particular dish. The problem with these community based websites is that they can make or break a store or restaurant.
Because a business can live or die based on what people say and think about it on sites like Yelp, more businesses are turning to less than reputable ways to get good reviews. More and more businesses have begun paying people to turn in fake reviews, or the businesses’ owners do the reviews themselves.
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Yelp knows that these kinds of fake reviews can be bad for their site, because if too many fake reviews are found by users, those users may stop turning to Yelp for their opinions. Yelp understands that it is in their own best interest to protect their users from these fake reviews and that is why the company recently announced that they will begin alerting users if the company suspects that a fake review has been posted.
Yelp says that it already tries to filter reviews it suspects are fake, the company believes that actually adding an alert to users will be an extra layer of protection. Yelp will put these alerts on the business’s pages for 90 days at least and if Yelp finds that there are continued attempts to post fake reviews, the alerts will last even longer.
Considering that Yelp is so popular that it recently launched an IPO, plenty of companies are going to want to stay on the review site’s good side. Customers can delve into the specifics of the alert by clicking on it and that means that a business that has been tampering with the process can be shunned pretty effectively. Yelp has an estimated 78 million monthly visitors, so restaurants and companies should try and avoid landing in the doghouse.
Edited by Brooke Neuman