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YELP Cracking Down Legally On Fake Reviews

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by Kosher1, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Kosher1

    Kosher1 Power Member

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    Hey all, just wanted you to know that via CL (mainly) and other channels, Yelp has been cracking down on fake reviews. this just out today in the Los Angeles Times:


    Yelp cracks down on businesses that pay for good reviews

    Warning signs begin popping up on Yelp when people try to access the pages of businesses that are suspected of gaming the system.




    Yelp Inc.'s motto boasts "Real People, Real Reviews." But not always.
    In an attempt to fight fake feedback, the popular review website has rolled out an alert system to warn users about businesses that it suspects has paid for positive critiques.
    On Thursday, warning signs began popping up when users tried to access the pages of some businesses with five-star ratings. To read on, users must click a button that says, "Show me the reviews."
    "We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business," the red-bordered alert box says. "We weren't fooled, but wanted you to know because buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Check out the evidence here."
    The alert will be removed after three months, Yelp said, unless there's any indication the business continues to trawl for reviews. More alerts will be posted as the company continues its investigations.
    The action comes as Yelp and other online review services face increased pressure to prevent business owners from gaming a system that has significant sway over where consumers spend their money. Travel website TripAdvisor posts similar alerts on its site when it suspects fake reviews.
    Websites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon and Citysearch have changed the way many consumers approach day-to-day activities: Rather than rely on word-of-mouth or traditional advertising, many people first check comments on review sites before getting a carwash, going out to eat or choosing a doctor. Businesses with higher ratings on the sites get a boost in Google rankings, which can lead to more customers.
    Since it was founded in 2004, Yelp has become one of the Internet's go-to sites for reviews. Users have published more than 31 million reviews and ratings on businesses and services around the country. The better the user feedback, the higher the company ranks.
    Yelp said that based on its proprietary algorithm, roughly 1 in 5 reviews are prevented from appearing on the review page because of suspicions it might be a fake. This happens more frequently to new reviewers. Elite Yelpers, who post reviews more frequently and have a special designation on their user profiles, have a better chance of having their reviews seen on business pages.
    Under the new alert system, Yelp has flagged nine businesses that it says paid for shill reviews. Their pages contain links to evidence of what Yelp calls "rogue solicitations," including Craigslist postings offering $10 to $200 for a positive review.
    "This pretty much breaks every rule in the book, not to mention it's just wrong to mislead consumers with fake reviews," Yelp said on its blog. "To combat this, we've put on our detective hats, tracked down these rogue solicitations and are now giving you a heads up."
    One of the businesses, Bert Levi Family Jewelers in San Diego, offered $200 on Craigslist for a positive review from Elite Yelpers, according to Yelp. The store has 91 reviews, of which 84 are five stars.
    A Yelp employee posing as an Elite reviewer contacted the jeweler, and in the email exchange that followed, a store employee wrote back, "Please write a positive review about having a new custom designed ring made for you, or whatever else you feel comfortable writing about." Yelp posted the email exchange online.
    The woman who answered the phone at Bert Levi Family Jewelers said the owner, on the advice of his attorney, declined to comment.


    SOURCE: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-yelp-alert-20121019,0,1002453.story
     
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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  2. rockong

    rockong Power Member

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    Haha nice! Now I don't have to go to crappy restaurants and wonder what the hype was all about ;)
     
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  3. Kosher1

    Kosher1 Power Member

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    ahahah yah, that is the POSITIVE side of it i guess :)

    Yelp operates like a mafia, now they want to look like goodie good boyz---
     
  4. CosmicSoundz

    CosmicSoundz BANNED BANNED

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    fuck them. Yelp is a bunch of assholes.
     
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  5. 2011nfl

    2011nfl Supreme Member

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  6. dennisyu

    dennisyu Power Member

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    Good. A site like Yelp is actually useful and should be free of all that shit.
     
  7. Knoxgates

    Knoxgates Supreme Member

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    Ha ha. Michael scofield planning yelp break.....
     
  8. Animgirl

    Animgirl BANNED BANNED

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    good job yelp,its annoying to be deceived.
     
  9. PunjabiYaaar

    PunjabiYaaar Junior Member

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    I think that is a good decision of yelp. Remove all the sh*t. :)
     
  10. TheLinkGuy

    TheLinkGuy Power Member

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    Wow that's crazy! How do they know that the restaurant was buying reviews?

    Negative SEO? What about Negative Yelp sabotage? Somehow figure out what reviews triggered their alert system, buy reviews for your direct competitors, have them show the fake alert for their businesses but not yours. Profit?

    Yelp needs to be careful with how they address this one.
     
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  11. phr0zt

    phr0zt Regular Member

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    Exactly what I was thinking... What's to stop me from posting up a request for fake reviews to shine a negative light on some competitors? Seems pretty easy to hurt others like this, and if so it's going to happen because there are some scummy people out there who do that kind of crap.
     
  12. The Sultan

    The Sultan Newbie

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    Wow there are 2 BHW members in this thread complaining about one type of search being gamed while doing it - I'm assuming - to another type of search? Crazy.
     
  13. jambox

    jambox Registered Member

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    Can't catch me
     
  14. julia adam

    julia adam Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    This is some crazy stuff but got to agree Yelp people are doing a good job eliminating the shit obviously no one wants to get deceived.
     
  15. phr0zt

    phr0zt Regular Member

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    Lol you can game a search without hurting the reputation of others. One is a an algorithm, the other is a brick and mortar business at stake.

    Huge difference.

    Also, like the quote I posted, it's like negative SEO, and if you have to resort to it it's because you suck at everything else and have to resort to cut-throat practices instead of adding value to the world--which is how you really make money.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  16. Kosher1

    Kosher1 Power Member

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    Hmmmm AGREED!!!
     
  17. mikeydell

    mikeydell Senior Member

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    This was my thought as well, How are they able to tell to a certainty that a restaurant or other business is actually buying reviews? This seems like this could actually blow up in Yelps face by the time its over.
     
  18. JustUs

    JustUs Power Member

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    If Yelp considers paid positive reviews bad, then why don't they consider unsupported/unsubstantiated negative reviews bad? Oh yeah, those drive a business into paying them for advertising. All the review sites are scams and need to be exposed as the extortion like operations hiding behind section 502 of the CDA that they are.

    The review sites only harm a business.
     
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  19. flexnds

    flexnds Power Member

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    When they stop letting people post malicious and slanderous sh*t online I'll stop buying reviews.
     
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  20. Russian-Czar

    Russian-Czar Regular Member

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    Well that's a dumb move cause this can be used as "Negative SEO", So I guess they just made it worth.