Study finds 16 percent of Yelp restaurant reviews are fake

Study finds 16 percent of Yelp restaurant reviews are fakeHarvard Business School recently released a study that suggests that 16 percent of all Yelp restaurant reviews in the Boston area are fake. The project, “Fake it till you make it: Reputation, competition and Yelp review fraud,” analyzed 316,415 reviews for 3,625 restaurants and found cases of positive and negative phony reviews.

Its findings included: “(Fraudulent reviews) tend to be more extreme (favorable or unfavorable) than other reviews. Second, a restaurant is more likely to commit review fraud when its reputation is weak, i.e., when it has few reviews, or it has recently received bad reviews. Third, chain restaurants — which benefit less from Yelp — are also less likely to commit review fraud. Fourth, when restaurants face increased competition, they become more likely to leave unfavorable reviews for competitors.”

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

For complete PDF copy of the study, CLICK HERE.

In related news:
The state of New York has fined 19 companies more than $350,000 for manipulating sites like Yelp. According to Eater.com, the NY Attorney General’s office contend that the companies involved changed their IP addresses to write the reviews in an attempt to trick the auto filters or they paid legitimate account holders to write fake reviews. For more on this story, CLICK HERE.