Yelp has launched a new tool with the sole purpose of tracking business pages that are abusing the platform by paying for fake reviews of their business.
Since 2012, almost 5,000 businesses have been caught by Yelp either writing fake reviews or paying customers to provide flattering reviews to boost their standing among the public. Now, its new index displays every U.S. establishment it’s caught engaging in suspicious activity.
The company has attempted something like this before, by adding temporary alerts to businesses’ pages that engage in sketchy behaviour. However, the new index is the first and only way users can see historical records of businesses that have been subject to these warnings in one place.
Yelp is also providing a current list of establishments with active alerts for users to see as well.
The new index comes at a time when cracking down on fake reviews is becoming more and more common. Recently, the FTC suggested a formal ban on fake reviews with punishments of up to $50,000 for businesses caught selling, manipulating or purchasing online reviews. Yelp has since come out in support of this ban.
Another reason behind implementing the new tool is to give users a more transparent and accurate report of where they are doing business.