All About Fake Online Reviews: The Problem of Separating Fact from Fiction

Comments: 7

  • You have only scratched the surface. What about people who maintain yelp accounts, writing “legitamate” reviews most of the time, who post positive OR negative reviews for money when asked? Or the people who post reveiws for friends? Or the people who falsify a negative experience as revenge? You don’t mention the real problem is the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which immunizes websites from lawsuits concerning third-party content, should be updated. People who make false statements on the internet should be open to lawsuits. Websites that host this content should be forced to make the indentity of users available conveniently.

    Are you sure the makers of Sleepless in Seattle have no enemies?

    • Very true, I have only scratched the surface. Fake reviews are an extremely complex issue, for all of the reasons that you mentioned. I think an entire book can be written on fake reviews, and unfortunately, I had to confine my musings and opinions to one blog post, so I couldn’t delve as deeply into this issue as I would have liked.
      But thank you for raising these interesting, valid points!

    • Websites that host fake reviews actually can get into trouble with the Federal Trade Commission. They have started cracking down on fake product reviews, and now require websites to disclose any affiliate relationships with the manufacturers of products they review.

  • Olivia, Thanks for writing this article. I hope you keep it going, explaining, exposing, and enlightening people to the many aspects of social,reviewing media. I have seen instances where Yelp employees have subtly extorted services or increased service, by wearing Yelp attire or announcing that they work for Yelp. Yelp also has also become more of a third rate social network than a reliable business and services review. I have read reviews where the individual couldn’t possibly have been to the restaurant the time of day they stated. I think many of the Yelpers just write misc reviews to become part of the “Elite”. Recently I had a conversational disagreement with a Yelp employee regarding the way Yelp was participating in a non-profit event that was very dear to me. I felt that Yelp was promoting itself as much as the event. After about 4 days of banter with the Employee (via side messaging) and a couple of threats, not only was my original posting taken down (Post taken down for not meeting policies) but all other reviews I’d make over the past year, ie my doctor, restaurants etc. All this because I thought it wasn’t proper that Yelper should be asked to contribute a min $25 to cover the cost of Yelp T-shirts to be worn in local AIDS Walk. Well that’s enough for now. Again, thanks Olivia for this enlightening thread. ds

    • Thank you for sharing your personal experience with Yelp, and thank you for the kind words about the post! I think online reviews are fraught with problems, and also as I said, extremely complex, so I’m going to continue examining the issue!

  • Yelp is extremely susceptible to fraud. Whether its people who aim at libel, or whether it’s Yelp making arbitrary decisions to leave out certain reviews, they cannot be trusted.

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