I waited the twenty minutes to watch KTLA’s Money Smart‘s 5-minute exposé of Yelp’s questionable practices with small businesses Tuesday night. The story of Golden Cadillac Bar was of a business owner who used Yelp! to promote her bar and gain more exposure but instead, her bar was incorrectly promoted — with fake pictures –and the owner claimed she was pressured into getting an added service she didn’t know they offered. Long story short, the owner of Golden Cadillac Bar in Canoga Park wanted to list her business on the site — and it’s free for businesses to create their account on the site — then, said she was “approached” by Yelp! with the offer of either removing or “fixing” the bad reviews and keeping a higher rating for a monthly fee. If you actually Google the Golden Cadillac Bar, one of the first links that will show up is the bar’s Yelp! page and you’ll see a four out of five star rating. It wasn’t clear whether she accepted the offer, but she did make it sound as if she was be coerced into doing so (which would led me to believe she did pay the fee to have bad reviews removed, or at least, not show when people visited her page). But the question here isn’t so much whether Golden Cadillac Bar paid to have good reviews and high ratings or if Yelp! offers such “advantages”. The question is — would you pay for a review you didn’t earn?
Would you buy a good reputation?
See, we think of the name and the brand of company as something that’s built and earned over time. It becomes a reputable company in which we can and want to do business with. A name we can trust. And that trust is earned and built by the high reviews of the customers and patrons of that establishment. Or so we thought. Or maybe it still is. For a few.
But would you shell out a few bucks for a nice rating and traffic boosting reviews knowing they weren’t honest and real? Your company may not be as highly regarded as what the feedback states, but it could get there, right? Or, in fact –it WILL get there. And all you’re doing is giving it that added push to help it along. Is there any harm in buying reviews and ratings for sake of making your business look good? It’s not illegal — not that I know of. It is unethical? Is it deceptive to potential patrons that search reviews and make purchasing and fraternizing decisions based off how well or poor other customer reviews are? Are you deceiving real customers by buying fake ones?
What is a review worth to your business?
- To Yelp, or not to Yelp… (chidderchadder.wordpress.com)
- Fake Restaurant Reviews (hollykmayhall.com)
- Fake Reviews on Yelp (sydniesweeney.com)
- Businesses yelp about Yelp reviews (ocregister.com)