At Yelp, we’re dedicated to connecting people to great local businesses, and also protecting them from misleading practices to manipulate ratings and reviews. Today, we are releasing a new round of 149 Consumer Alerts to expose extreme attempts to influence business ratings and reviews on Yelp, such as paying for positive reviews. The Consumer Alert will be clearly posted on affected Yelp listings for 90 days.
Why do we do this? We want to make sure consumers have the best information to make informed decisions. Yelp’s automated software and team of investigators work around the clock because we believe consumers deserve to know when this kind of activity is taking place behind the scenes to mislead them.
Consider these examples:
- Cross Country Movers in San Francisco tried to condition a reimbursement on a user’s promise not to write a “negative” review.
- Arris’ Bistro in Jefferson, Missouri was encouraging 5-star reviews on Yelp in exchange for points in their rewards program leading to free drinks, appetizers, and more
- Mattress Disposal Plus in Marietta, GA offered a user $5 for a positive Yelp review.
Yelp’s efforts are a part of our larger Consumer Protection Initiative, including the LIVES open data standard, integrating restaurant health scores, and our ProPublica partnership, incorporating health care statistics into Yelp business pages of medical treatment facilities, and more. We are constantly looking for ways to ensure the integrity of information on Yelp, including tips from the community. If you suspect suspicious activity, please let our team of investigators know.