Faking a five star review on Yelp could cost you lots of mula

Regulators are going after fake reviews on Yelp, Google, and more. The New York Times have announced that 19 companies are paying over $350,000 in penalties for posting fake reviews on Yelp, CitySearch, and Google.

It has been discovered that companies are contracting with online reputation management firms to pay “customers” located in Bangladesh and the Philippines a dollar per positive online review. It’s been found that there have been instances of Dentists, Lawyers, Ultrasound Clinics and others inflating their reviews.

People have speculated that Yelp and other review sites have been invaded by fakers for a long while. Posting misleading reviews has been a problem that’s turned into an epidemic. It’s even been found that restaurants have paid for false public health grades.

Big ratings mean big business, according to a 2011 Harvard Business School study, a one-star increase in Yelp reviews boosts revenues by 5% to 9%. But now big fake ratings could mean a big fat penalty. Not worth the risk. We suggest earning your reviews naturally!

The new innovation by Facebook, Graph Search, is trying to avoid this problem by highlighting reviews by people you know and trust.

Do great things and people will notice!

[Image: Flickr user roboppy]