…as Yelp becomes more popular, so have attempts to game the system. By taking advantage of the anonymous nature of the site, shady businesses have been known to pay reviewers for positive reviews or to place negative reviews on competitor’s sites, wrecking the supposed “wisdom of the crowd
The article outlines four ways you can detect possible bogus Yelp reviews. Supposedly Yelp has filters in place to catch bogus reviews but they are not perfect and it seems both overly negative and false positive reviews get through.
For example if you notice a competitor has a number of bland generic reviews with few details such as “positive experience, would go back again” but nothing to indicate that it is a dental office you may be seeing a sham review. It is even possible to pay for fake online reviews.
I believe that online reviews can be a great service to consumers and a way to improve the profession, however the current system is fraught with concerns and easily corrupted.