Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Yelp?! ... Help!!

The idea of easily going online and finding out the best and worst about a place you might be doing business with seems great. However, along with everything else online this processes has proven to disappoint consumers and businesses alike.

While trying to get a grip on all of the false locksmith business listings, Baldino's Lock and Key noticed it was not correctly listed on Yelp. When we started to investigate we noticed multiple listings of addresses we were not located at along with ... what we thought ... were very "iffy" reviews.

When our marketing associate logged into her Yelp account and wrote Baldino's correct address/website on the listings with incorrect information Yelp suspended her account. When she explained she didn't write a review just added the right address so users wouldn't drive out of their way, Yelp then wrote that our business was "no longer in business". This was their solution instead of taking down the incorrect listing and adding the correct one. This only hurt Baldino's more when people thought we were no longer open.

Recently Yelp has been getting a lot of heat from consumers and business owners for fake reviews. The New York Attorney General even did a sting operation called "Operation Clean Turf". The sting lasted a year and caught 19 different companies writing fake reviews. Most of them were search engine optimization companies that were hired by small businesses (http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/09/26/yelps-fake-review-problem/)

In the Yelp Terms of Service it's stated that all users not violate guidelines by compensating someone or being compensated to write a review. Writing fake reviews is easy when you are writing them as an anonymous user.  One way to fix the problem of ALL fake reviews, listings, and businesses advertisements is for these search engine companies and review websites to actually take the time and verify who is a legitimate user. Click here for Yelp Terms of Service.

The point is...users beware. Don't trust reviews and ratings with out digging a bit deeper. You can following some of these tips from
  1. Don't rely solely on the overall star rating 
  2. Change the way reviews are sorted 
  3. Search for what you care about 
  4. Look at an individual reviewer's stats 
  5. Check out the filtered reviews
  6.  Write your own reviews

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