Monday, July 10, 2023

Fraudulent Yelp Reviews

Stephen Council (via Hacker News):

It seemed the clinic had hired a local lawyer to demand that Dean remove her negative review or face a lawsuit. The envelope included a $50 check.


Since then, Dean, 60, has mounted a yearslong crusade against Yelp and the broader online review ecosystem from a home office in San Jose. Yelp, founded in San Francisco in 2004, is deeply entrenched in American consumer habits, and has burrowed itself into the larger consciousness through partnerships with the likes of Apple Maps. The company’s crowdsourced reviews undergird the internet’s web of recommendations and can send businesses droves of customers — or act as an insurmountable black mark.

Dean follows fake reviews from their origins in social media groups to when they hit the review sites, methodically documenting hours of research in spreadsheets and little-watched YouTube videos. Targets accuse her of an unreasonable fixation. Yelp claims it aggressively and effectively weeds out fakes. But Dean disagrees, and she’s out to convince America that Yelp, Google and other purveyors of reviews cannot be trusted.

Her channel is Fake Review Watch.

Dan Luu:

I find it interesting how businesses have been able to co-opt review sites to get negative reviews removed. If I see credible negative reviews on a major review site, they’re often gone when I check back later, replaced by positive reviews.

The flip side of this is that when I’ve reported obviously fake reviews (negative or positive), those almost never get removed. I guess it makes sense that people who specialize in getting reviews removed would know how to do it better than an honest actor.


2 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Reviews without trust&verification of reviewers are useless. Look at the App Store. My favorite there was one I saw from an ad, “Bingo Cash: Win Real Money” - at the time all but one of the written reviews was 1 star, but the rating is 4.6 with 2.7k reviews. 2.7k 5 star reviews but only a handful of written reviews, most decidedly negative. What a load of crap.

We need to get back to curated reviews/search because these algorithms are way to easy to corrupt. And clearly Apple & Yelp and Google have insufficient (any???) incentive to fight them.

Not to mention the air bnb trap where both parties review each other. 5/5 Bonanza

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