Yelp has been issuing rounds of consumer alert warnings on business pages since 2012. These last for 90 days and point Yelp users to evidence Yelp found that shows why they consider that business to have been engaging in shady business practices.
An example of one of the warnings says, “We caught someone offering up cash, discounts, gift certificates or other incentives in exchange for reviews about this business. We wanted you to know because buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Check out the evidence here.”
In January, Yelp issued 85 of these types of warnings on business pages. In June, it issued 51 more. Earlier this week, it announced that it had issued another 51 of them, bringing the year’s total to 187.
The consumer alerts fall under a broader initiative that the company refers to as its Consumer Protection Initiative, which also includes its work with government and research agencies as well as its health score information for restaurants.
Since the announcement about the latest round of consumer alerts, Yelp has made yet another announcement about its consumer protection efforts. This one involves slapping another 100+ businesses with a new “reputation warning”.
For businesses with the “reputation warning,” Yelp goes even further than that it does with those with the regular consumer alert. It actually removes the reviews and star ratings for the business, and instead just displays a warning with a link to its evidence.
So just know that this is a think Yelp could do to more businesses in the future if it compiles what it sees as sufficient evidence.