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Would you buy a product from a business that you know has paid for positive online reviews? We didn’t think so!

If the reviews you’re reading may or may not be true, you’re not likely to pay for products or services from that provider. They immediately lose your trust when you think about how easily they decided to cut corners to promote their business.

As search engine professionals, but moreover as consumers, we understand the high value of quality business reviews. We’ve already given you the heads up about Google keeping an eye out for review fraud. This summer, Yelp implemented a more aggressive tool to let consumers know about fake reviews.

How the Alert Works

When Yelp finds out that a business solicited paid reviews, a Consumer Alert box appears on the page. The warning reads:

“We caught someone red-handed trying to pay someone to write, change, or remove a review for this business. We weren’t fooled, but wanted you to know because these actions not only hurt consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Check out the evidence here.”

The alert may include a Show me the evidence button that links to any documentation that they’ve found to support their review fraud claim. Evidence includes ads or emails from the business asking for positive reviews, some as blatant as writing the review themselves and asking a third party to post them. Yikes!

Advice for YOU…

Don’t commit review fraud! Okay, okay. We didn’t need to be that harsh. If you’ve taken a step back to think about how you’d respond to paid reviews, you’ve probably already realized how they would negatively affect your business. But just in case, we’re here to help keep you squeaky clean.

Contact your Customer Success Coordinator if you have questions about how to ask your real customers for online reviews. 

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