Warning: Stop Paying for Yelp Reviews

Oct 3, 2013

As news has emerged regarding consequences associated with fake reviews, many different reviewing sites have highlighted the need for legitimate reviews from real clients. In the midst of fake reviews and businesses built upon them, gaining legitimate reviews can be a trial for many business owners and marketers. But how can businesses compete with their competition when faced with their fake reviews.

While news of fake reviews and the efforts of businesses to bolster their online reputations with them emerging in the news, businesses and leaders may wonder what the real cost of fake reviews for their business may be. But understanding the consequences is not as simple as merely paying the price with fines, as exemplified in recent court cases in New York and other states. Instead, the price of fake reviews may actually be paid in wasted time, effort, filters and a loss of trust by consumers checking into a businesses.

stop paying for YELP reviews

Filtered Reviews and the Appearance of Inauthenticity

In an effort to combat the fake reviews that threaten to make their own services seem inauthentic, reviews sites like Yelp made it more difficult for reviews to pass through their system by establishing filters. Filters on reviews make it much more difficult for overly positive and seemingly “fake” reviews to make it through their algorithms. While the filters may have helped eliminate some fake reviews, it has also made it more difficult for extremely positive, but real, reviews to make it onto business listings.

Companies Creating and Selling Fake Reviews

In addition to businesses creating reviews touting their positives and leaving out their struggles, companies have begun to capitalize on creating fake reviews for other companies and selling them in an effort to boost search engine results and online reputations. While the businesses intentions may have been to create a more positive view of companies who may have been tarnished by negative reviews in a world where consumers are more likely to complain than boast of positive experiences, the results have been negative. A page full of positive reviews may set off alarms among consumers, highlighting illegitimacy and breaking trust in a business rather than building faith in their products or services. Consequently, consumers can seem wary of too many reviews, especially those that seem generic and canned in contrast with offering real feedback that highlights product features and authentic gripes or boasts.

While it can be tempting to purchase positive business reviews in an effort to drown out overly negative reviews or keep up with industry competition, real reviews will come off much more trustworthy and authentic to consumers reading up on a business. Even if a company has a couple negative reviews, responding to them can actually present a positive method of showing consumers that even when a company cannot make someone happy, they are listening to their clients and want to make things right for them. Seeking legitimate reviews from consumers may be more difficult and time-consuming but the efforts will yield more refreshing information that potential clients can trust and identify with.