Even though Yelp has tried public shaming tactics, businesses trying to game its rating system just keep cropping up. Eater found a Craigslist posting in New York very, very blatantly trawling the Internet for fake Yelp reviews. The ad offers $25 to an “experience Yelp reviewer” to write reviews, and an extra $25 to put the reviews on different social media sites.
You’d think a struggling English lit grad would balk at selling their restaurant-reviewing integrity for a measly $50, but it’s tough out there. So tough, in fact, that we found a host of other people willing to do the same job for an even more paltry $5 on Fiverr. So maybe whoever is writing these Craigslist ads should’ve looked around a little bit before naming their price.
Now, you’re technically not supposed to offer services for Yelp reviews on Fiverr, but that doesn’t stop people from saying they’ll do it anyways. For instance, one user says, “I will give your business, product, band, blog, website, etc. a long, serious, positive review on any three social media sites of your choosing. Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, Yelp, the choice is yours.” For every Fiverr seller saying they don’t do Yelp, there’s another one willing to shirk the rules. One user’s headline promises “I will write pretty much anything you need for $5,” and the post specifically included Yelp reviews. Another user said that people who request Yelp reviews have their accounts flagged, but that doesn’t seem to stop handfuls of Fiverr sellers from quitting.
The Craigslist review is probably getting yanked soon, but Yelp may need to come up with a new way to crack down on the Fiverr crowd and other shills looking for quick money. The practice of clogging up review sites like Yelp and Amazon with fake reviews makes them far less helpful and may even contribute to the fact that total stinkers don’t get weeded out as soon as they should.