A recent article in the New York Times noted the lengths that some businesses will go to “manage” their reputations by paying for fake positive reviews. This practice not only violates Yelp’s Terms of Service – it’s against FTC guidelines too. We love to see increasing awareness about the need for quality control of online reviews; Yelp has taken an aggressive stance on this front for the past seven years in an effort to provide consumers with the most useful information.
Second, we filter out some reviews using an automated software system that runs independently from our User Support team. Rather than looking at subjective data like how well a review is written, the filter looks at objective data that gives clues about a review’s reliability. Reviews that don’t make the cut are posted to a "filtered reviews" page (still viewable by clicking on the link at the bottom of any business listing with filtered reviews.) If a filtered review later makes the grade based on new data, it is re-posted to the business’s main profile page.
Online reviews continue to be one of the most trusted sources of information for consumers. With over 58 million unique visitors each month, Yelp is a primary destination for consumers trying to find great local businesses.
As always, we recommend that business owners focus on providing a great customer experience, and let their reviews accumulate organically. We’ve found that businesses that do it the right way have had the most long term success.