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Consumer Alerts: Helping You Make Educated Spending Decisions

Today Yelp is releasing 232 Consumer Alerts this quarter, notifying consumers of shady review practices. These alerts are Yelp’s way of informing the public of attempts to influence ratings and reviews by offering compensation in exchange for reviews or spamming business pages with positive reviews.

Yelp exists to empower and protect consumers, and maintaining their trust in us is a top priority. We want to ensure that consumers have the best information to make informed spending decisions. Our recommendation software is engineered to identify potentially biased or unreliable reviews, which it places in the “Not Recommended” section of a business page. Reviews that are not recommended are not factored into a business’s overall star rating. 

Our investigators also act on leads provided by users to identify potential bad actors because we believe consumers deserve to know when they are being misled. For business owners interested in understanding more about our recommended best practices and what violates our content guidelines, check out our list of Do’s and Dont’s.

This quarter, you might be interested to know that:

  • Someone offered $50 in exchange for a positive Yelp review of J Butler Property Management in Tewksbury, MA; 
  • Someone at Warner Plaza Urgent Care in Woodland Hills, CA tried to entice negative reviewers to remove their reviews in exchange for a free office visit and vitamin B12 shot;
  • An alarming number of positive reviews were posted for Wave Plastic Surgery & Laser Center in Los Angeles, CA from the same IP address. This is a common tactic used to inflate a business’s rating.

Consumer Alerts are removed from affected Yelp business pages after 90 days if the offending behavior stops. Our team of investigators is constantly on the lookout to protect the integrity of information on Yelp, including through tips from the community. If you find some suspicious activity, please let us know.