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In an effort to crack down on fake reviews, Yelp is introducing a new consumer alert label that will appear on the pages of businesses who are caught buying reviews.
Starting Thursday, whenever Yelp catches a business paying a customer or individual for a review, the site will flag that company's page with a notice that reads, "We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews." Consumers will even have the option to click on the alert and see the fake reviews.
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The notice will remain on the page of the infringing business for a full 90 days -- and even longer if that business is caught buying reviews again in that time period. In this way, Yelp hopes to create a strong deterrent for businesses abusing the system.
"We want to make sure consumers are making informed decisions," Yelp said in a blog post Thursday announcing the consumer alert labels. "Yelp’s automated review filter is working around the clock to flag these types of biased reviews, and we believe that you deserve the right to know when this type of activity is taking place behind the scenes."
Yelp isn't the only website that has a problem with fake reviews. Last month, the research firm Gartner issued a report predicting that between 10 percent to 15 percent of social media reviews will be fake by 2014. It remains to be seen how successful this new effort from Yelp will be.
Here is an example of the consumer alert you might see on a business's page going forward:
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