Here Is How Yelp Deals With Fake Reviewers

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Yelp LogoUnderstanding the value and weight of their service, Yelp went on hunting down all those “inspired” agencies that decided to monetise on Yelp stars by selling fake reviews. In summer of 2013, Yelp got a big fish - they’ve found BuyOnlineReviews.net, which also happened to own the domain BuyYelpReview.com. Finding this supposed service motivated the organisation to reach out to the owners of the service and demand explanations, noting that such actions like brand manipulations and selling fake reviews are illegal. The owner, however, did not see any wrongdoing in their actions, saying they are just like any marketing specialists who are increasing page’s search visibility with SEO-friendly keywords, with difference being only in using stars instead of keywords.And this is what the website promised for $25:
Buy Yelp reviews from the most trusted source in the industry. We offer 100 percent real reviews from aged accounts. All have real friends, activity, check-ins etc.. Using our in house Yelp experts we form high quality reviews that will not be filtered out. We analyze all aspects of your business and ensure that your reviews are realistic. Receive unlimited 5 star reviews and start attracting more customers.
However, the comparison is really not appropriate in this situation as sites like BuyYelpReview practically stimulate customer trickery. Which, in its turn, makes sites like Yelp literally pointless, through destroying their main purpose - giving real and trustworthy recommendations to real customers. So Yelp actually filed a complaint to take the site down through court and claimed a complete reimbursement of all the costs of the trial and on top of three times the revenues BuyYelpReview generated from selling fake reviews.The person behind this whole story with bogus reviews turned out to be Timothy Catron, who happen to run a SEO firm as well. To prove his attachment to the story, Yelp actually bought a fake review from BuyYelpReview.com and got a receipt with Catron’s AdBlaze SEO agency.Back then, in the complaint, Yelp also asked defendant to reveal every single fake review they made and claimed an award of “treble damages” for the alleges trademark infringement.As for January 2015, neither BuyYelpReview nor AdBlaze websites are operating.This case should become a lesson about "black hat SEO" and other unfair practices of online promotion: it is not worth the risk. Having short-term positive effects could boost your business for a second but in the long run it is not worth it. Instead, businesses should concentrate on long-term results by building audience, creating relevant and useful content for the audience and making sure their websites are kept up to date. SEO is not about cheating the whole world, but about transforming the world into relevant, updated and high quality community. 

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