Yelp launched its Consumer Alerts program nearly three years ago to catch people who might be trying to manipulate ratings and reviews. Today, we’re activating a new round of 51 alerts.
Yelp has a team of investigators who scour the site, infiltrate message boards and classified ads, and research tips from our community of users in search of suspicious activity, like offers to pay for good reviews. We place clear warnings for consumers on business pages where we find questionable activity. The warnings stay up for 90 days with a link to the evidence found so consumers can make their own decisions.
Since the program’s beginning, our sleuths have uncloaked hundreds of instances where people were engaged in shady reviewing practices – everything from tattoo removal services and moving companies, to car dealerships and doctors.
Consumers have the right to know when someone is attempting to mislead them. For example, before heading in for LASIK eye surgery you would probably want to know that a very large number of five-star reviews for King LASIK came from the same IP address used to claim the business owner’s account. Likewise, you’d probably like a heads up that Luminere Esthetics & Wellness was caught offering $400 in exchange for removing a negative review of the business before stopping by for a waxing appointment (yikes).
On top of giving consumers a false perception of the place where they are about to spend their money and violating Yelp’s Terms of Service, writing a testimonial without revealing you've been compensated is also false advertising.
If you see any suspicious behavior on Yelp, please report it and help us do our best to protect consumers, honest businesses, and Yelp.