Yelp is one of the most popular online review sites, and as such it is highly susceptible to fake reviews. Here we show you how to get a fake Yelp review removed from your business page.
Let's play a game of "what would you do?" that involves pizza and sabotage.
You're hungry. You're in a rush. You're far from home. And if you don't find a place close by that sells the thin-crust pizza you've been fantasizing about since breakfast, you're going to lose it.
So you grab your phone, open Yelp and get searching. Quickly you realize there are two pizza places nearby, and both serve thin-crust pie. Score!
Place A - let's call it Jimbo's - has a Yelp rating of 3.9. Pretty good! Place B - we'll call it Timbo's - is a little closer and has a 3.8 rating. Your stomach is grumbling and you've got to choose between the two, so you glance quickly through the reviews.
Jimbo's recent reviews are all pretty good. Timbo's, however, has mostly 5-star reviews that rave about the high quality of its ingredients, its big portions and fair prices, and the cleanliness of its restaurant. They've been written by locals who have written lots of other reviews, some positive and some negative, of other places nearby; so basically, they seem like real reviews written by real people.
And yet, Timbo's only has a 3.8 rating because it also has several recent 1-star rants. One says that the pizza is disgusting and the staff are rude. Another claims that there are bugs all over the restaurant.
Hmmm. Those reviews are radically different from the recent posts. But you're hungry and you've got to make a choice....
The Danger of Fake Reviews
Jimbo's it is! It doesn't have many raves, but everyone seems to like it fine.
Sorry, Timbo's. You just lost a customer... which was exactly the mission of the person who wrote those 1-star reviews. It might have been Jimbo himself, or his wife, or his assistant manager, or a former Timbo's employee who's mad about being fired.
Whoever wrote those posts lied. And it hurt Timbo's business. So it's easy to see why, when it's your business that receives a fake review, getting it removed is important.
Yelp is an incredibly valuable tool for businesses, largely because customers think that its reviews are generally trustworthy. Here's the rub, though: the site is tough on companies that it catches posting fake reviews, but when your company is on the receiving end of a fake review, Yelp may not intervene.
Still, it's always worth making the effort to get a fake review removed.
Reporting Fake Yelp Reviews
When you see a review posted to your business's Yelp page that you know for sure is untrue, follow these steps to get Yelp's attention:
- Make sure the review is truly wrong! If a customer writes about a negative interaction on a Thursday night, for example, talk to the staff on duty to make sure that what the person described didn't really happen. You don't want to get a reputation for trying to silence customers who complain for good reason.
- Claim your business page, if you haven't yet done so. Through this process, Yelp will verify that you work for the business in question and have the standing to post on the company's account. Go to biz.yelp.com, search for the business and follow the prompts.
- Log into your business Yelp page.
- Find the review that you dispute and look for three horizontal dots. When you click those dots, you should see the option to Report Review. Click it, and choose the reason that you're reporting the review. It may take several days for Yelp to review your report and make a decision.
It's frustrating, but there's a good chance Yelp won't remove the review just because you say it's fake. (After all, if Yelp just took your word for it, many businesses would take this route to get real-but-negative reviews removed, hurting the site's credibility.)
Your other option at that point is to publicly respond to the post in question, politely disputing the writer's account. For example: "I'm sorry to hear that you had a problem with a rude male server, but is there a chance you've made a mistake? We only have female servers working for us right now. If you're sure it was our restaurant that you were dining at then please give us a call so we can learn more and make this situation better!"
A calm, polite response shows that you're attentive and respectful, while shutting down the fake complainer.
Dealing with Fake Reviews
Like death and taxes, fake Yelp reviews are inevitable when you have a popular business. Because you can't get rid of them all, fight back in a more effective way: by drowning them out with tons of positive, real reviews from your real customers. When one rant is surrounded by 5-star raves, it's hardly noticeable.
Use ReputationStacker's automated system to combat the fakes and protect your reputation. The system identifies your happy customers and makes it easy for them to write reviews on the review sites of your choice. ReputationStacker also gives you other tools that you can use to grow your business without dedicating hours each day to reputation management.
Plus, ReputationStacker can alert you whenever you get reviews and show them to you in one place, so you can take action as soon as a fake review is posted.
Shutting Down the Fake Yelpers
No business owner or manager has the time to spend all day on Yelp. When a fake review is posted, take a few minutes to deal with it, then get back to work. Using a system like ReputationStacker means you don't have to panic over every bad or fake review - because it helps you get enough positive reviews to drown out the occasional stinker.