Marketing

Yelp to Business Owners: Don't Try to Game Our System

Yelp to Business Owners: Don't Try to Game Our System
Image credit: Yelp
Entrepreneur Staff
Director of the Entrepreneur Partner Studio
min read

For business owners, having a page on popular user-review site Yelp can be a blessing or a nightmare. A page full of five-star reviews can help drive business. A page stocked with negative reviews, however, can turn potential customers away. To boost their ranking or bury negative ratings, some business owners have paid people for making positive reviews, and that's not playing by the rules, Yelp says.

In an attempt to put a stop to these fraudulent reviews, Yelp has announced a new "Customer Alert" system. A warning message will appear on business pages when Yelp believes that a company has paid for its reviews. One indicator that a business is engaging in this type of activity is if it has a large number of reviews submitted from the same Internet Protocol (IP) address, Yelp says.

Related: Got a Bad Yelp Review? Here's What to Do

Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner predicts that by 2014 as much as 15 percent of reviews on social media sites could be paid-for fakes

"Initially, nine businesses will have the consumer alert message posted on their profile page, but the company will be posting alerts like these on an on-going basis, as warranted," Yelp said in a blog post announcing the new system. The alert will be removed from the business's page after 90 days, unless Yelp detects "any renewed efforts to mislead consumers."

Related: Yelp Co-Founder Jeremy Stoppelman on Innovating and Staying Relevant

In general, business owners have had a love/hate relationship with managing Yelp reviews. Some companies have alleged that reviewers attempt to "extort" money or other services from them in exchange for not posting negative reviews. Yelp, which has denied the allegations, has also faced complaints that it offers businesses positive reviews in exchange for purchasing advertising on the site.

Do you think Yelp is a helpful tool for businesses? Let us know in the comments below.

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.