I know a few people who would not take walk down the street if there is a negative review about taking a walk down the street on Yelp! They will not eat at a certain restaurant, they will not go to a certain movie theater, they will not shop at a certain store without first consulting Yelp. So to these people I say sorry.
A new report found evidence of fake reporting on Yelp, as much as 1 out of 5. Why? Because companies have figured out that offering people money to write fake reviews on the popular app, sends business their way.
In other words, Real People, but not real reviews!
According to MarketWatch, 20 percent of Yelp reviews are fake, or as Yelp likes to put it, “suspicious.” In a study dubbed Operation Clean Turf, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman led a year-long investigation that ended in an agreement with 19 companies to cease the practice of creating fake online reviews. The companies also agreed to pay more than $350,000 in fines for false advertising.
Many of these businesses were guilty of paying freelance writers from the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Eastern Europe between $1 to $10 per review. Despite Yelp forbidding the use of paid reviews, a study by Michael Luca, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, and Georgios Zervas, an assistant professor of marketing at Boston University, reports that fraudulent Yelp reviews rose from 5 percent in 2006 to 20 percent in 2013. The study predicts that the number may have risen to as high as 25 percent, unsettling news for avid fans who use Yelp as a go-to resource.