The Consumer Alerts Yelp recently posted on accounts of companies found displaying sponsored or inorganic reviews shows that Google isn’t the only spam vigilante around. Yelp reports it will continue displaying warning messages on business pages for 90 days to inform internet users the web content they read may not be natural customer reviews.
“We’ve always taken the quality of content on Yelp very seriously … [and] we’ve gone to extensive measures to make sure that the consumers who come to Yelp can trust those reviews to reflect the real-life experience they will have with that business,” the site stated in an official blog post discussing the alerts.
This is because online reviews demand authenticity to carry any value for consumers. With more people turning to the ‘net to research products and services before visiting business locations, the stakes are higher for brands.
Knowing that online content can generate leads or sacrifice sales, marketers are also scrutinizing the algorithms used to surface customer reviews and articles. Brafton previously covered a study that suggested Yelp displays extreme reviews (very positive or negative) over middle-of-the-road reports. The site was also accused of featuring more content from new users than seasoned participants.
Yelp’s response to deceptive customer reviews suggests the site is upholding its commitment to organic online content. To avoid losing any opportunities to generate leads or conversions, it’s in marketers’ best interest to support only honest and unsolicited reviews on their Yelp accounts, social presences and company web pages.