In an ongoing effort to reclaim their platform, Yelp has announced that through a new “sting” operation, they will determine which businesses are purchasing reviews. Yelp’s Consumer Alerts began in 2012, but Yelp has recently decided to take a harsher stance. This week, they have rolled out a fresh batch of these alerts and renewed them for some businesses. If you are a restaurant, small business or other establishment who has been targeted for one of these sting operations and found to have fake or purchased reviews posted on your Yelp page, you will get a warning slapped on your profile to make users aware that the information is not trustworthy.
Some businesses waiting for reviews to be verified are claiming that Yelp is holding the reviews in order to get the businesses to buy advertising. In contrast, Yelp states that as of February, they had almost 300 additional businesses who will be penalized for paying for reviews, whether with cash, discounts or other benefits.
Yelp’s controversies aside, Yelp has decided to slap a business they feel has phony or paid for reviews with a big, embarrassing Consumer Alert badge. While they buffer this with stating that they don’t remove the business’ listing, some might argue – with the sad state that Yelp (and most review sites for that matter) is in – it might be just as well to get banned from Yelp altogether, or just attempt to remove your listing yourself.
Have you had difficulties with Yelp or any other review service? Were you able to rectify the problem or is it still an issue? Tell us your story in the comments, we’d love to hear how you fixed a problem, or if you were able to get phony reviews removed, or even a success story.