Yelp has launched a few new features aimed at making its services easier to use for both visitors and reviewers.
First up, there is a new Yelp mobile app, available today on iOS and later for Android, which allows users to post Yelp reviews straight from their mobile phone. This means instead of having to wait to get back to their computer in order to write a review, people could write a review for a business while even still in the business or immediately upon leaving.
This is good news for businesses that have a good reputation, because there a lot of times that people think they are going to go and leave a great review for business they have been to, but either forget or just never quite get around to actually writing it and posting it once they are sitting at the computer. That said, for businesses that are poorly run or tend to get negative reviews, it makes it so that those users can instantly post their negative review right while they are still angry or upset about it.
Mobile users could previously leave a 'tip' once they have checked into a business, which are generally meant for short tweet-like quick comments about the business. These tips will also be remaining for those Yelp users that use them frequently.
As people began using the mobile review future to post our business review, if the link is too short, Yelp may turn them into a tip rather than as a full-blown review. However, they say they are going to be testing and adjusting this, and also allow reviewers to go back and edit shorter reviews and tips left on a mobile device to something links here when they have more time.
With nearly 10.4 million unique mobile devices using Yelp's mobile app, this feature is sure to get some great usage, and it is something that avid Yelp reviewers have been asking for some time.
Yelp is also posting some new consumer alerts that will give a heads up to visitors searching for a business where Yelp has caught the business owner using some sort of incentives for great reviews, such as offering cash, discounts, gift certificates or any other kind of incentives to promote people leaving those reviews. They also note that the FTC deems this kind of activity for soliciting reviews as illegal, and as Yelp says, “it's pretty darn unethical, too.”
When Yelp discovers a business soliciting positive reviews, the new consumer alert will show up on their Yelp listing for 90 days since a large number of fake positive reviews can definitely impact competitors who aren't cheating, as well as leaving Yelp users wary of believing any Yelp reviews, when fake reviews lead them astray.
If your business is utilizing some sort of promotion in order to encourage positive reviews, you might want to rethink that approach. While Yelp uses automated tools to try and discover many types of fake reviews, such as multiple reviews posted from the same IP address or a high number of reviews coming from other countries, it is clear that Yelp is now also considering the problem of solicited positive reviews.
While Yelp is displaying this new consumer alert on the businesses caught trying to circumvent the natural review process for businesses, users still can click the link to see the reviews for that business, however it is unclear if they are also removing the flagged reviews automatically as well.
This article was originally published on Search Engine Watch.
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Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Jennifer Slegg began as a freelance writer, and turned to search engine optimization and writing content for the web in 1998. She has created numerous content-rich sites in niche markets and works with many clients on content creation, strategy, and monetization. She writes about many search industry and social media topics on her blog, JenniferSlegg.com and is a frequent speaker at search industry conferences on SEO, content marketing and content monetization. Acknowledged as the leading expert on the Google AdSense contextual advertising program, she runs JenSense, a blog dealing exclusively with contextual advertising. She is known by many as her handle Jenstar on various webmaster forums.
March 19, 2014