If you tend to rely on Yelp to help decide where to order food from or what businesses to frequent, you may be worried about fake Yelp reviews. Do fake Yelp reviews exist? How do you deal with fraudulent Yelp reviews? That’s where we come in.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Some experts have surmised that up to 20 percent of Yelp reviews could be fake.
  • To spot a fake Yelp review, check the reviewer’s profile photo to see if it is a stock image.
  • You should also check out the language of the review itself, to spot if it was written by a human and not a bot.

What is Yelp?

Before you can understand if Yelp features fake reviews, it can help to learn about Yelp and how it works. Yelp is a platform that lists restaurants and other businesses and allows them to be rated. Any Yelp member can leave reviews on the establishment they have frequented and these reviews are collated into an average of one to five stars. In case you’re wondering, this is why reviews are important.

Why Use Yelp?

Customers tend to use Yelp to gauge interest in a local business and to check in on other customers to read about their experiences. Additionally, the companies use Yelp as a source of advertising and drum up sales. For instance, restaurant Yelp pages will often feature official photos of the menu as taken by the restaurant owners.

Does Yelp Have Fake Reviews?

Yelp is a part of the Internet and is therefore subject to fake and fraudulent reviews. It has been estimated that up to 20 percent of Yelp reviews are fake, though the company has instituted several measures to get that number down. Fraudulent customer feedback has also been rampant in recent years due to fake App Store reviews.

Insider Tip

Yelp is a platform that lists restaurants and other businesses and allows them to be rated.

How to Spot Fake Reviews

There are several ways to tell that a review is fake or fraudulent. Here are some of the things to be on the lookout for.

Check the Reviewer’s Profile Photo

Take a gander at the reviewer’s profile photo. Does it look like a real person with real friends who could have actually visited this establishment? If not, the review could be fake and the image could be a stock image.

Check the Reviewer’s Other Reviews

You should also open up the reviewer’s page and check out what other businesses they have reviewed. Are the reviews concentrated in one location? That could be an indicator the reviewer is the real deal. If the reviews are for businesses located throughout the world, warning bells should be going off.

Check the Language

Take some time to analyze the language of the review itself. Does it seem like a real person wrote it in their native tongue? If so, good. If not, it could be a fake review.

Warning

It has been estimated that up to 20 percent of Yelp reviews are fake, though the company has instituted several measures to get that number down.

F.A.Q.S

Can you illegally buy Yelp reviews?

Yes. There are several ways to buy fake Yelp reviews for your business, but this is illegal and may backfire. We do not recommend engaging in this practice.


How do bad Yelp reviews affect your business?

Bad Yelp reviews can seriously impact a business, particularly a restaurant. If you get enough bad reviews, it will bring the overall rating down which could make potential customers think twice before visiting your establishment.


Can you remove fake Yelp reviews or complaints?

Yes. Contact Yelp’s customer service team and they will look into the review and place a freeze on it if warranted.



STAT: Boosting a restaurant’s rating on Yelp by even one star can increase its revenues by as much as 9 percent, according to a study published in 2011. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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