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Yelp Says 25 pct of Submitted reviews Are Fake

 3:44 pm on Sep 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

As a user, I always read into reviews. Objective reviews are more likely to get my attention, but i'd always check the reviewer's profile.

The whole system of online reviews needs a re-think, imho.

Yelp, the online directory and consumer review site, has confirmed that a quarter of the reviews it receives are fake, as evidence grows of widespread attempts to skew consumers' opinions.

Yelp says its automated review filter now "suppresses around 25%" of "suspicious" reviews it receives.

"Any that are fake will be swiftly filtered out," a Yelp spokesman said.Yelp Says 25 pct of Submitted reviews Are Fake [bbc.co.uk]

Earlier story
US: New York Attorney General's Operation "Clean Turf" Fines Companies For Writing False Online Reviews [webmasterworld.com]



 4:52 pm on Sep 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

And 90% of the balance is written by people who aren't qualified to give an opinion because they don't know the difference between good and crapola. :P

But seriously, when reading Yelp reviews it's best to wear a helmet to protect yourself from uncontrollable forehead slaps. Saw a post about Anthony Bourdain coming to San Antonio, TX and one genius recommended taking him to a Thais restaurant.

Forehead slap.


 10:57 pm on Sep 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Even if it were 100% legitimate how many people go out of their way to write a positive review?


 11:53 am on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Spammers will go out of their way to write reviews for whatever slant they are paid.

I was reading some reviews the other day and it's very clear which ones are the fanboys or spammers.


 7:27 pm on Oct 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Currently running on (Boston) craigslist:

Looking for someone with an active yelp account to write a review on yelp. Conditions are that your yelp account needs to be at least 6 months old with activity on it. I can pay you $25.00 for the review via PayPal. If this works with you email me back at...."

Such is the nature of Yelp reviews. At least they're getting some real reviews, when Yelp started it was 100% Yelp employee (with fake name) reviews. Their marketing strategy was to post 2-3 bad reviews for any large local service companies that would be hurt by the bad PR -- then high-pressure sell them on an account that would allow them to control "their page" (and delete bad reviews). It was pure blackmail.

Yelp is trash.


 12:02 pm on Oct 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Only 25%?


 11:38 pm on Oct 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Pat says 13% of stats are fudged 86% of the time. Then again, I don't post reviews.


 12:05 am on Oct 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

There's one surefire way to rate some types of business (ones that get used regularly enough rather than one-off services)...

The problem is that it's not going to happen due to a public backlash about the privacy issues of it.

Here it is though:

Track the usage of credit/debit cards and look for patterns of return visits. You could get plenty of data if you were Visa/Amex/Mastercard to even spot when businesses were heading south (whereby regulars start using alternative providers). If you could marry the terminals being used to specific businesses in a reliable way and knew the business type each of these is you would get an insane amount of valuable data. Link it to demographic data about the cardholders and you could spot all sorts of things; it would be a dream for me to mine that data...

If it did go ahead you would still get gaming of the ratings but it's going to be harder to do if it actually requires a large number of repeat card uses from different customers.

I have a few other ways to do something similar which I hope to test when I get better.


 3:32 pm on Oct 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

On line reviews aren't worth the paper they aren't written on.

There is really no point in reading the opinions of these half-wits with an axe to grind. If you want something - buy it. The distance selling legislation (at least in the UK) is so biased against the manufacturer/supplier that you can return it for your money back if you aren't satisfied; with no need to give a reason even if the item has been used and is in relatively poor condition.


 10:31 pm on Oct 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yelp needs to review their filter. We have a number of actual customers who have left reviews (no, not all 5 stars) and ALL of them have been filtered. I ignore yelp.

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