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Should you buy Yelp reviews? Here’s Why That’s a Bad Idea

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Before you make the decision to buy Yelp reviews, stop. This helpful guide will educate you how that can work out for you. We break down all of the potential risks and provide insights into everything else that could end up doing more harm than good to your business.

To buy or not to buy Yelp reviews?

Though money can purchase you many luxuries, can it buy happiness? That and reputation.

Experts say that money won’t help your business procure a favorable reputation. Especially when it comes to Yelp reviews.

At first glance, it may appear like a missed opportunity to pay for positive reviews on your company’s Yelp page or even give discounts in exchange for written reviews. 

However, those posts would not generate real and honest feedback from customers that can be trusted. Such tactics could potentially backfire as new people visit your business only to discover the reality of what you offer does not match up with advertised expectations – leading them away disappointed instead of satisfied and willing to leave an authentic testimonial about their experience.

But what if you still think you could get away with it?

Although it is safe to assume (that’s the primary keyword here) that buying Yelp reviews could go undetected, resulting in an increase of business, the probability is high that it will cause lasting harm to your reputation. Therefore, this strategy should be avoided at all costs.

Fortunately, there is a superior solution which we will delve into shortly. But before that, let’s go through some basics.

How Yelp Works

Believe it or not, in terms of trustworthiness, Yelp reigns supreme among review websites.

As one of the world’s most reliable online review sites, Yelp has amassed an astounding 224 million reviews and counting. From restaurants to entertainment venues, Yelp is trusted by millions as a dependable source for business ratings worldwide.

The Yelp team understands that customers won’t put trust in reviews if they can’t rely on their authenticity. That’s why the site has such stringent rules when it comes to fake reviews – including those written by employees of a business and those purchased rather than earned through customer experience.

What makes Yelp tick?

This site incorporates a highly effective algorithm to investigate the reviews that are posted, and filters out reviews it believes may be fake, or in some way dishonest. The system errs on the side of caution which is why legitimate customer feedback can also end up being filtered along with any false accounts.

Yelp leverages a great deal of data to identify which reviews are fake, without providing detailed details as to how their system works. This makes it very difficult for users to try and trick the system. Moreover, paying people with active Yelp profiles in exchange for favourable reviews can set off alarms that may lead to serious legal consequences.

A Few Yelp Scenarios

Considering taking a chance on purchasing Yelp reviews? Well, while it’s possible that they’ll be posted to your page and visible by customers, the odds of this occurring are slim.

Here’s what will actually happen instead.

The sad truth is that most reviews get lost in the shuffle (read filtered out) and will quickly disappear from sight, leaving you with nothing but a hefty bill to show for it. There’s no point wasting your money on something like this when there are better ways of boosting customer engagement.

If your fake review gets filtered out, you may have dodged a bullet here. And here’s why.

There are counter-measures in play, like Yelp’s Consumer Alerts program. This program is in place to keep customers informed of any untrustworthy conduct coming from a business. If the system flags your page for false reviews, you will be met with an eye-catching banner informing all visitors that Yelp does not have faith in your services.

The advertisement can be displayed for up to three months, which means that thousands of customers will comprehend your attempt at buying reviews. Furthermore, they’ll always remember this event. That’s a surefire way to destroy your brand.

Not only is exchanging money or other motivators for reviews risky but it can also prompt repercussions from the Federal Trade Commission. Therefore, risking your reputation by engaging in such activities isn’t worthwhile.

Why Yelp Works

If the idea of paying for Yelp reviews caused you to hesitate, take heart. This just serves as a reminder that using Yelp wisely can be incredibly powerful and beneficial to your online reputation.

People who habitually utilize Yelp understand that the platform only permits genuine reviews from real customers to be posted. Thus, they are more likely to have faith in and accept anything you post on your page as true and authentic.

So the solution is – to get Yelp reviews from authentic customers the right way.

How to leverage Good Reviews?

If you have happy customers, you can ask them to leave Yelp reviews. 

However, don’t fixate on only Yelp; other review sites like Facebook and Google are just as vital in forming your online reputation – how potential clients view your business depends on this. 

Concentrating on getting good reviews on multiple platforms is a must! A wide range of industry-specific websites should also be taken into account for complete coverage.

How to Earn Good Reviews on Yelp?

While it may have crossed your mind to buy Yelp reviews, you know that’s not the best option for yourself and your business. There are methods to take advantage of existing reviews and generate new ones for your company on Yelp.

Let’s explore a few of these methods in the sections below:

Make Customers Aware of Your Yelp Profile

Chances are that the vast majority of your customers won’t take the initiative to review you on Yelp. Most will probably forget, and others may not even realize that such an option is available. That being said, it’s essential to reach out to ask them for their feedback—a few words from satisfied clients can make a huge impact!

An excellent method of accruing more reviews without the need to purchase them is by simplifying the process for your customers.

Want to promote customer reviews? Start by requesting customers to share their experiences on Yelp as they leave your premises. Additionally, encourage each of your employees to remind patrons about leaving a review upon exiting the store – for instance, “Thank you so much for stopping by! Don’t forget to let us know what you thought through an honest Yelp review!” This ensures that everyone leaves with reviewing being at the front of their minds.

Also, why not consider creating signs that persuade customers to leave reviews on your Yelp page? Place these posters near the exit so they are in plain view when leaving, at tables (if you own a restaurant), or even by the checkout desk. This will give them an easy reminder of how to share their experience with others.

Address Issues and Reward Customer Feedback

Engaging with feedback on your Yelp page, no matter how much or little there may be, demonstrates to potential customers that their satisfaction and quality of product/service are the top priority. Moreover, you can incentivize customers to leave reviews by offering rewards! Just like posting signs in your store reminding patrons of the Yelp page, consider also displaying signs advertising review rewards.

Make sure your offers are enticing to both customers who will leave a 5-star review and those who won’t. Offering rewards exclusively for favorable reviews may seem insincere, driving potential reviewers away from sharing their experience with your business.

Make sure to use language that is applicable to everyone! Consider something along the lines of, “Feel free to leave us a review on Yelp and share your experience. When you next come in, show us your post and we’ll happily reward you with 15% off.”

Gaining Customer Trust

If you’re seeking to increase your Yelp reviews, then customer trust should be one of the main priorities. So what can you do? Aside from being truthful and avoiding purchased Yelp reviews, pay attention to how your customers feel towards your business. Engage with them and their opinions so they know that their perspective is valued by you. This will help build a connection between yourself and your customers which in turn increases their faith in the services or products offered by you!

What if you get a Negative Review?

Believe it or not, negative reviews on your business’s Yelp page can actually be beneficial to you. Valuable feedback from past customers can open a window into the inner workings of your company and expose areas that need improvement. With this newfound perspective, you now have an opportunity to adjust operations and make tangible changes for the better!

Criticism can be hard to swallow, but it’s an excellent opportunity for growth and improvement. On Yelp you are able to reply to feedback so take advantage of this chance! Address any shortcomings on your end as a part of providing better customer service and make sure they have the best experience when visiting.

Not only will this help to resolve any strife between your business and the unsatisfied customer, but it will also demonstrate future customers that you value their satisfaction.

Be Consistent

Consistency is the key to success. Your customers should always be able to expect your business operations, products and services in a particular way. Before you make any changes, think about whether or not it will appeal to and benefit your customer base first. If you take into account their wishes and needs, chances are they’ll leave positive reviews on Yelp!


Invest your resources in enhancing your business, not buying Yelp reviews. Not only is it unethical to pay (or offer incentives) for real customers’ reviews, but Yelp’s sophisticated monitoring systems will also detect any deceitful behavior and take action against you – possibly even publicly shaming your company. Save yourself the embarrassment and a negative reputation by avoiding fake Yelp reviews at all costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is buying Yelp reviews bad for business?

Buying Yelp reviews is considered bad for businesses because it is a form of fraud and deception. It artificially inflates a business’s reputation and misleads potential customers about the true nature of the business. Yelp has strict policies against buying reviews and will penalize businesses that are caught doing so by either removing or hiding the reviews or penalizing the business in its search ranking.

What are the consequences of buying Yelp reviews?

The consequences of buying Yelp reviews can include penalties from Yelp, such as removing or hiding fake reviews, and a lower search ranking. Additionally, it can damage the business’s reputation and credibility and can lead to mistrust from customers.

What are some other ways to improve your Yelp rating?

Some other ways to improve your Yelp rating include providing excellent customer service, encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews, and responding to reviews, both positive and negative. Additionally, a business can optimize its Yelp profile by providing detailed information and high-quality photos of its products and services.

Can Yelp detect fake reviews?

Yes, Yelp has a sophisticated algorithm that detects and filters out fake reviews. Yelp uses a number of factors such as review content, IP address, and user activity, to identify and filter out fake reviews. If a business is found to have purchased or fake reviews, Yelp will penalize them as described above.

Is it a common practice to buy reviews?

Unfortunately, buying reviews is a common practice among some businesses, especially those that are struggling to attract customers. However, it is important to note that this is an unethical and prohibited practice by review platforms, and it can cause long-term damage to the business’s reputation and credibility.

How can a business avoid buying reviews?

A business can avoid buying reviews by focusing on providing excellent customer service, encouraging satisfied customers to leave honest reviews, and responding to all reviews, both positive and negative. Additionally, they can avoid scams or services offering fake reviews and work on their organic growth.

Alex Contes

My past experience is as a Senior Full Stack Developer/Tech Lead. I have 16+ years of experience working in web development. Now I’ve transitioned to a SaaS product owner. Successfully launched my first product ReviewGrower as a Co-Founder after working on it for almost two years.

More from Alex Contes

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