San Francisco, California–Businesses are advised to take caution in using Yelp reputation management services, the review site warns. Companies which represent themselves to be able to remove negative reviews, boost positive reviews, or boost a company’s ratings are making unfounded and dangerous claims.
In an email to business owners, Darnell Holloway, in Business Outreach at Yelp writes, “We’ve recently seen several new reports about ‘reputation management’ companies that claim to work with Yelp to remove your negative reviews, recommend certain reviews, or otherwise boost your ratings for a fee (of course!). If you’re wondering how these companies can make good on this offer, the answer is simple: they can’t.”
Holloway then goes on to point out the company’s goal is to provide consumers with honest opinions, not to cater to businesses putting-up a facade to mislead the public and lure new customers.
Using a Yelp Reputation Management Service is Trouble
The review site also announced on the company’s official blog it has recently issued Consumer Alerts on several business’ profiles. These are placed on business profiles suspected of misleading consumers with fake reviews. These practices are monitored by automated detection software; however, the review site writes it also, “…employ[s] an investigative team to identify and expose people who are actively trying to mislead consumers.”
In September of last year, the Attorney General of New York announced fines against SEO companies, ranging from $2,500 to $100,000, for manipulating the review site. On the other side of the issue, legitimate businesses aren’t pleased with the review site. The company has been the subject of much discontent among small business owners, especially after its newest deal with Yahoo. Businesses are unhappy with their hard-earned Yelp reviews being arbitrarily replaced by Yahoo reviews.