Yelp has sued Revleap, a Los Angeles based company. Yelp claims it is misleading, in fact scamming, customers by asking them to pay to “guarantee” good reviews on Yelp. They mention that they are “taking a stand to protect business owners” so they don’t fall prey to misleading companies. More specifically, they mention that business owners need to know which companies are “playing by the rules” and which ones are not.
Yelp, the company that relies on crowdsourcing for reviews and user recommendations, is most closely associated with diners and local eateries. It might surprise you, though, to find out that Yelp’s biggest category isn’t restaurants, it’s shopping. In fact, with over 20 categories of businesses and services, Yelp is a great platform for nearly any company to find and engage customers.
Yelp likes to describe themselves as the "wisdom of the crowd". But there are several items happening that question that premise. Recently, a California judge ruled that Yelp can legally manipulate ratings which feeds into people's pre-existing opinions that Yelp sales people coerce business owners to advertise with them.
It is more important than ever to be visible on Yelp these days. Google recently launched a major search algorithm update for local English-based search results in the U.S. The update is more than just another tweak to Google’s main algorithm, which seems to be tweaked about every 10 seconds. The Pigeon update has a substantial impact on organic listings for local businesses on Google Web Search and Google Map Search.
What’s the problem with Yelp? One, there’s really nothing you can do when your company gets a bad review. Business owners can comment once on the review. That’s it. And the damage is done. With the social currency of Yelp high, your ratings are directly affected by even just one bad review.
You’re new in town, or you’ve traveled to a new destination and you want to know what restaurants the locals like or where you can find the best shopping. So you reach for your smartphone and consult a trusted advisor. By making a phone call? No, by checking out Yelp.
Yahoo updated its search engine earlier this year to include essential facts about any business in the US right on its results page. Taking things a step further, Yahoo announced yesterday that they have partnered with Yelp “bringing more business listings, more photos, and more reviews” to the table.
It goes without saying that reviews tend to skew negative, right? Far more people run to TripAdvisor or Amazon after a terrible experience than an amazing, or even satisfactory, one. Yelp's algorithm that automatically decides which reviews are good or bad has created a toxic environment of trolls and fake reviews.
This past week, New York’s Attorney General announced that it would be fining 19 businesses over $350,000 each for posting fake positive reviews to the popular online review site, Yelp. The businesses, which ranged anywhere from strip clubs to a laser hair removal service, would pay freelance writers up to $10 per positive review.