How to Handle Fake Yelp Reviews
Malicious and shady operators are out there in your industry. Maybe a competitor who can’t compete honestly, or maybe an angry ex-employee, there are people out there who write fake reviews to damage your business. Here is a guide for what to do when the fishy one-star reviews come in! First, let’s talk about what not to do.
What Not To Do:
1) Don’t Flag The Review as Inaccurate – Yelp doesn’t “take sides” where the business owner and the reviewer disagree on the facts. Their words, not mine. As a result, blatantly false reviews are not technically against Yelp policy, so don’t bother arguing with Yelp about factual truths.
Does that make you angry? It really should - it makes me angry just on principle, and I don’t even own your business. No matter how angry you are, follow this advice.
2) Don’t Retaliate – Don’t reply to their comment on Yelp. Don’t leave a scathing rebuttal, or a public reply of any kind. The Yelp filter considers reviews with replies or upvotes to be more legitimate than reviews with no comments. At first, do nothing, and the review may be filtered out. Feel free to send them a message in private, but if they’re malicious, they probably won’t take down their review voluntarily.
3) Don’t Threaten To Sue – You don’t run the sort of company that relies on lawyers. Yelp does. Yelp has a long history of winning court cases, including against allegations that their sales team is involved in actual extortion. Just don’t do it, threatening legal action won’t get the review taken down!
What To Do:
1) Do Check for Hate Speech – Did the review use hate speech or abusive language? Flag it! Use the option “It Contains Threats, Lewdness, or Hate Speech.” No one can use hate speech on Yelp, and many swear words count as hate speech. Watch as their foul-mouthed review disappears, while you barely have to lift a finger!
2) Do Check for Names – Did the review name a specific employee, other than the owner of record? Well, your employees have a right to privacy, and Yelp takes privacy pretty seriously. Flag it under the option “It Violates Yelp’s Privacy Standards.” The review will disappear, and your employees will thank you for looking out for them!
3) Protect Yourself – The best way to counter fake reviews is to make them irrelevant. Sure, it’s infuriating to see your competitor or an ex-employee making false statements about you. That would make even the calmest business owner angry. The best rebuttal is to have a solid review system in place, so that you have so many genuine reviews that one fake review simply does not matter. Many folks don’t realize, but 70%+ of Yelp reviews are 4 or 5 stars. The more reviews you have, the higher your chances of rating between 4 and 5 stars.
So, there you have it! In the event that you get a fake Yelp review, now you know exactly what to do. Looking for more tips to make the best of your Yelp listing? Download our comprehensive Yelp Guide below!