Yelp Details Removal Of Paid Review Groups & Lead Generators

Yelp has published its 2022 Trust and Safety Report detailing the actions it has taken against lead generators, fake review groups, and companies that drive reviews.

Yelp takes on paid review groups

The report details the proactive approach to hunting down and segmenting online review groups.

Among the methods used by Yelp are identifying IP addresses used in false positive reviews, as well as connecting users to groups that arrange paid reviews.

Yelp’s Trust and Safety Report revealed that it combats online comment exchanges by identifying groups on social media and working with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to break them up.

in 2021 Blog post about their referral programYelp writes that they monitor online groups and even run sting operations to catch fake review rings.

A newly released Yelps Trust and Safety Report states:

Yelp strictly prohibits offering incentives or other compensation for writing, changing, or removing a review.

To combat this on and off the platform, our User Operations team has done the following in 2022:

Has issued more than 415 warnings to companies for engaging in paid or incentivized review behaviour.

– As part of our broader Consumer Alerts program, we placed 88 compensated activity alerts on business pages after receiving evidence of someone offering money or other incentives in exchange for posting, updating, or removing a review.

We also placed 405 suspicious review activity alerts after our systems detected a large number of positive reviews coming from a single IP address, or reviews from users who may be connected to a group that coordinates trigger reviews.

Provided more than 1,100 reports to third-party sites, such as Twitter (150 reports conducted by Yelp), Facebook (130 reports), Instagram (110 reports), and LinkedIn (70 reports), warning them about content from more than 900 suspicious groups or posts Or individuals we find on their sites participating in online feedback exchanges.

Third-party platforms took action on the content in question in about 77% of our reports.”

Yelp closes thousands of fraudulent accounts

The Trust and Safety report reports that Yelp has closed more than 77,000 user accounts due to violations of its terms of service and suspected deceptive and abusive actions.

They also rejected more than 32,800 potential new business pages for associating with spam activities that violated Yelp’s policies.

An interesting revelation is how badly they encountered lead generation companies whose business model is to create fake business listings and then sell them to local businesses.

Yelp writes:

Nearly 2,000 business pages were removed because they were associated with lead generators, a violation of Yelp policies.

Lead generators create fake business pages, then take the generated leads and auction them off to other contractors.

This behavior tricks people into paying exorbitant costs for services, targeting vulnerable consumers who often allow service providers into their homes (locksmiths, movers, house cleaners, etc.). “

Yelp User Operations Team Content Removals

The report notes that 2% of all Yelp contributions were removed by the User Operations team in 2022. This includes comments, photos, upvotes, and other forms of contributions.

Yelp trust and safety

The integrity of reviews is important to a recommendation system like Yelp. Yelp uses a referral program as a first line of defense against deceptive behavior. The software itself is dynamic in that it keeps tabs on users and companies as they interact with the platform.

Yelp writes:

“The recommendation software is fully automated and applies the same objective rules to every company. Recommended reviews for any business can change over time as Yelp learns more about the reviewers and the business.”

It also employs human intermediaries In their User Operations team to follow up and review reports manually generated by users, companies, or Automated systems.

Read Yelp’s 2022 Trust and Safety Report

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