Monday, May 23, 2011

Yelp Yipes!

If you’ve ever patronized a business based upon a Yelp recommendation you may have been duped. A whole new industry has sprouted to provide businesses with favorable faux reviews on the service.

According to this column by David Segal in The New York Times, there now exists “a small, semi-underground group of entrepreneurs who, for a fee, will post a rave about your company. Others will post a negative review about your rivals.”

This of course isn’t good news for the increasingly popular Yelp and they are fighting back with some novel tools. In addition to filtering efforts they also provide a link to reviews that have been filtered out to let the consumer be the final judge of its veracity.

Yelp Vice President Vince Sollitto told the journalist that they do this in acknowledgement that their filtering "isn’t perfect. Some legitimate content might get filtered and some illegitimate content might sneak through. We’re working hard at it. It’s a tough one.”

It’s doubtful any writers will get rich writing fake reviews though. In one instance writers were recruited to write fake reviews for a company called Southland Dental “for which they would earn 25 cents.

That and two bucks will get you a cup of coffee.
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