If your thinking of writing fake reviews on Yelp to help your online reputation then think again. In fact if your thinking about writing any fake reviews good or bad anywhere, then you really need to have a word with yourself.
Last week Yelp launched an new initiative to rid their platform of fake reviews with public shaming. They are the first to adopt public shaming and we truly hope many others follow their lead.
Any business that publishes fake reviews or pays for reviews will have their profile(s) branded with a stamp that informs the consumer that they can’t be trusted. And we think this is brilliant, fake reviews are nothing but fraud and if caught the mud from this will stick (and should stick) for a long time which will be detrimental to a business, after all who wants to deal with a fraudulent company?
Review sites such as Yelp, Qype and Tripadvisor can be brilliant platforms to help consumers with purchase decisions, by crowd sourcing public opinions you can build up a realistic view on whether you want to use the company or not.
This however only works if the reviewers are honest and objective. Any business that writes it’s own glowing reviews or pays people to do this, undermines the reviews sites credibility and pulls the wool over potential customers eyes. This is why Yelp who have already taken previous steps to keep their platform free from spam, by adding filters that removed questionable reviews from the calculation of the star rating has now gone one step further in the fight against fake reviews.
If Yelp finds evidence that an establishment such as a hotel, restaurant or any other business has added their own reviews or paid for reviews, they will have a mark of shame accredited to their profile for the whole world to see.
They will even proactively bait companies to see who responds to “would you like to buy positive reviews” solicitations and can now effectively catch people after the event but also catch them in the act before hand. Buts thats not all have some very sophisticated detection methods including;
An algorithm thats capable of detecting fake or deceptive reviews. When people are lying, this changes the way they use language, this algorithm automatically spots this and flags this.
If your profile is not completed in full, then you could be flagged as a dummy account.
If you only have a small number of reviews built up over a set time period and nothing after, then you will be flagged.
If multiple reviews are submitted or have been submitted from the same IP address then you will be flagged.
And many more, of course Yelp are not going to tell you everything they are looking out for and neither are we.
Our advice – DONT write fake / pay for fake / bribe or beg for reviews, good or bad about anyone. Period.