Yelp recently announced that it had handed out a new round of consumer alerts – warnings that appear on business pages – calling out businesses for alleged foul Yelp review play. It also renewed alerts on some businesses that had previously received them. Yelp found a “large number of positive reviews” coming from the same IP address, which it considered “a sign of someone trying to game the system and mislead consumers”.
Businesses accusing Yelp to suppress positive reviews and leave negative reviews, thus when a business’ rating drops Yelp pressures them to into buying advertising. Yelp denies that this happens, and calls such accusations “conspiracy theories” and the result of the Woozle effect. Yet the accusations keep coming from business owner after business owner.