Groupon Found Guilty Of Writing Fake Yelp Reviews
In a Venture Level blog post today, Romil Patel, an entrepreneur discusses his experiences with running Groupon and LivingSocial deals. Overall, he experienced some shadiness going on with Groupon. Apparently a Groupon representative he worked with had asked him to create fake, positive Yelp reviews for his own business.
Patel writes, “Later on, after the terms were accepted by me, my rep emails me and asks me to create Yelp reviews for my QSR [quick service restaurant], by having either my employees write how good my QSR is or having my “best” customers write them. I’m not too sure, but I’m confident this has to be against Yelp’s terms of service since this would be considered creating fake and biased reviews. Needless to say- I thought this was an ethics issue, and I didn’t do it.”
Of course, self-reviews are against Yelp’s policy and are unethical for any business. It is kind of like an eBay seller asking his or her buddy to write a favorable review regardless of if they purchased a product or not. Since Groupon often receives positive reviews from Yelp, one certainly questions how many of the reviews are genuine. In all fairness, I am sure Groupon is not alone in trying to squeeze in some fake reviews from Yelp. I wouldn’t be surprised if many businesses attempt this practice as I’ve often see filtered reviews for many different businesses.