The Fake Review Narrative

Fake Reviews and Unethical Companies
You sit there scrolling the internet for a pest control provider and are pretty impressed by what you have seen so far but just so you can say you have done your due diligence you continue searching and come across the following inconsistencies:

Pest Control Company “A

  • Google listing with 654 Reviews with a rating of 4.9 Stars

  • Yelp! listing has 459 Reviews for an overall rating of 5 Stars

Pest Control Company “B

  • Google listing with 2,652 Reviews with a rating of 4.8 Stars

  • Yelp! listing has 101 Reviews for an overall rating of 4 stars

Pest Control Company “C

  • Google listing with 984 Reviews with a rating of 4.8 Stars

  • Yelp! listing has 25 Reviews for an overall rating of 3.5 Stars

A High Review Count on Google with a High Star Rating but a Low Review Count on Yelp with a Low Review Rating…?

These examples are from Google and Yelp listings of real Pest Control companies in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas, Texas. You may have noticed that the number of reviews that Company A has are more consistent with each other while companies B & C have strangely large gaps between their Google and Yelp Listings.

After an extensive review of pest control companies, restaurants, plant nurseries, and other industries it was determined that an average percent increase towards Google over Yelp is generally going to be between 40% – 1,200% on the high end. No, people are not gravitating to Google reviews over Yelp at a rate of  2,500% – 3,800% to leave reviews. If it was that routine Yelp wouldn’t be in business. But what is causing this discrepancy?

Review Bots & Fake Review Generators

In this day and age, any company can find someone to create hundreds or thousands of fake 5-star reviews for themselves or 1-star reviews for their competitors. The real-life example above is a good indicator that review bots may have been used. Before making a purchasing decision, check reviews from multiple sources, use reputable review outlets, and be on the lookout for the following.

  • Inconsistent review count

  • Inconsistent Star Rating

  • High volume of 5-star or 1-star reviews in a short time span

  • Reviews are very vague or short or with similar language

  • The company or seller being reviewed has no website

  • Odd language and phrasing in reviews

Other reviews that are not currently recommended

Yelp has a little tab squirreled away at the bottom of each listing that says “other reviews that are not recommended” and these reviews get hidden away when Yelp’s super-secret algorithm helps them filter the reviews you and your friends place. Google does not do this and this could account for some of the reasons that Google has a higher number of people willing to review and fewer businesses willing to claim their Yelp listing. The idea is that some reviews are less reliable and they will get flagged but it could be for anything from 

  • Yelp user has not left enough reviews to seem reliable.

  • Reviews originating from the same IP address

  • Unfair bias like the ones written by friends or family

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