Like many sites that deal in reviews, Yelp has been battling bogus ones for some time.
Since 2012, the review site has caught ~5k businesses paying people to post reviews on the site, per Engadget.
Now, it’s turning to the shame bell
For transparency, Yelp slaps an alert on business profiles where something weird is afoot. That includes businesses engaging in “compensated” reviews (i.e., paying for them) or “suspicious” behavior, such as multiple reviews coming from one IP address.
It’s not a particularly searchable database — it would probably be more useful as a spreadsheet than a list — but it’s something.
Why it matters
Fake reviews are rampant across the internet, and both companies and the FTC are desperate to stop them and restore consumer trust.
Last year, Amazon sued the admins of 10k+ Facebook groups, accusing them of soliciting bogus reviews.
The FTC took its first action against fake reviews in 2019, fining a supplement company $12.8m.
In June — and in the wake of generative AI — the FTC proposed additional penalties for businesses caught:
- Selling, obtaining, or buying fake reviews
- Repurposing real reviews
- Buying or selling fake social media indicators, such as followers or views
BTW: The Hustle’s Zachary Crockett once spent two weeks in Facebook’s fake Amazon community to figure out how it operated. Check it out here.
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