Who doesn’t love to read online reviews? Let’s be honest: We even like to read the bad ones. There’s something very cathartic about seeing someone else trash the restaurant that gave you bad service last week, because it validates what you already know: That this place is a horrible restaurant staffed by mean, mean people. And their food is terrible, too! Conversely, we like to read good reviews, particularly before we’ve ever been to the place. Knowing what you’re going to pay for ahead of time is a great advantage, right?
But what if that good restaurant review was fake? It’s become a big problem now – such a problem, in fact, that Yelp now filters out the reviews of users they deem to be illegitimate. A user must clear a number of verification steps in order to be deemed legitimate, including uploading a photo and having Yelp “friends.”
Without statistics to back up the claim that fake restaurant reviews are taking over Yelp, the obvious question is: This can’t be that big of a problem, can it? But it is. Tech research company Gartner predicts that by 2014, 10% to 15% of social media reviews will be paid for by companies. Ever seen a “get paid to write reviews” ad on Craigslist? That’s what we’re talking about. Nearly 78 million people visit Yelp in the course of a year, and OpenTable continues to gain notoriety with 15 million restaurant reviews in a month. There are most likely scores of fake reviews on that site as well.
But it works, unfortunately. A University of California, Berkeley study showed that even a miniscule half-star improvement increases the number of dinner reservations at any given food establishment. Strange, but true. So, do we advocate writing fake reviews for restaurants? No, and we don’t offer it as a service either. In fact, we don’t write fake reviews for anybody. We offer legitimate social media marketing and reputation management, and that works even better. To learn more about those services, contact Crest Media today!