Japan News: Japanese firms help falsify Google reviews to boost medical clinic ratings

Japan News: Japanese firms help falsify Google reviews to boost medical clinic ratings . “When you look for a store or facility on Google’s search engine, a review section is displayed along with a map. Reviews on the internet not only influence people’s choice of products, but also where they go. The existence of several specialized companies that erase all the low ratings posted and replace them with high ratings has been uncovered by The Yomiuri Shimbun. These companies are said to target local medical clinics, where such ratings can make a big difference, to use their services.”

SEO Roundtable: Google Local Result With Reviews From The Web & Independent Sites

SEO Roundtable: Google Local Result With Reviews From The Web & Independent Sites. “Google seems to be testing a new way of showing reviews in the local listing for some businesses. Brandon Schmidt spotted Google showing not just the number of reviews with the review summary in stars, but where Google labels if the reviews are ‘from the web’ or from ‘independent sites.’” Apparently you can’t click it, it’s just a piece of data. What’s the point?

MIT Technology Review: Anti-vaxxers are weaponizing Yelp to punish bars that require vaccine proof

MIT Technology Review: Anti-vaxxers are weaponizing Yelp to punish bars that require vaccine proof. “Spamming review portals with negative ratings is not a new phenomenon. Throughout the pandemic, the tactic has also been deployed to attack bars and restaurants that enforced mask-wearing for safety. As pandemic restrictions have lifted, businesses like Mother’s Ruin have sought to ensure that safety by requiring proof of vaccination using state-sponsored apps like New York’s Excelsior Pass, vaccine passports, or simply flashing vaccine cards at the door — practices that have instigated a second surge of spam reviews.”

INSEAD Knowledge: What Yelp Reviews Can Tell Us About the State of the Economy

INSEAD Knowledge: What Yelp Reviews Can Tell Us About the State of the Economy. “In a paper forthcoming in Big Data for Twenty-First Century Economic Statistics published by the US National Bureau of Economic Research, we show that Yelp’s crowdsourced data can help measure economic activity at the local level in close to real time, in contrast with official data that is often published years after. Changes in the number of businesses and restaurants reviewed on Yelp can help ‘nowcast’ changes in the corresponding official statistics before they are released. In short, sources like Yelp could complement official data in business and policymaking.”

The Verge: I love the earnest Google reviews of vaccination sites

The Verge: I love the earnest Google reviews of vaccination sites. “Normally, I’m appropriately skeptical when reading any online reviews since they’re highly subjective and usually only by people whose experiences were extremely good or extremely bad. But I threw that out the window scrolling through the latest reviews of the Javits Center in New York City, which I now fully believe is a happy place for people with vaccine appointments. It’s ‘so impressive,’ one now-immunized person wrote. Someone who took their mom to an appointment wrote that ‘the service we received was beautiful.’”

New York Times: American Could Face Prison in Thailand After Posting Negative Reviews of a Resort

New York Times: American Could Face Prison in Thailand After Posting Negative Reviews of a Resort. “An American man who lives in Thailand was unhappy that a resort hotel wanted to charge him a $15 corkage fee for bringing his own bottle of gin to the restaurant. He argued with a manager and then later did what has become second nature for disgruntled tourists: He posted negative reviews of the resort online.” Apparently the resort is willing to settle with the guest, but I don’t know if it happened. No recent news on a quick search.

Phys .org: Online shoppers swayed by customer reviews of physical products—not experiences

Phys .org: Online shoppers swayed by customer reviews of physical products—not experiences. “We live in a world of online reviews. Before spending on everything from restaurant meals to a new pair of jeans or even a European vacation, many of us often check Amazon, Yelp or TripAdvisor first. But not all customer reviews are created equal. In fact, we put more trust in reviews about material items than we do about experiences.”

The Verge: Yelp says it shut down 550 user accounts after discovering a fraudulent review ring

The Verge: Yelp says it shut down 550 user accounts after discovering a fraudulent review ring. “Yelp knows its credibility is only as good as its reviews, so today, it’s releasing its first Consumer Alerts Report, which details incidents in which Yelp’s team intervened to cut off fraudulent reviews or activity. The report shines a light on behavior that one would likely expect happens on a review site — people trying to game the system — but only focuses on successful cases where either Yelp’s human team or software detected abnormal behavior.”

The Age (Australia): Melbourne brothel owner sues Google over bad reviews

The Age (Australia): Melbourne brothel owner sues Google over bad reviews. “A South Melbourne brothel owner is taking legal action to force Google to reveal who wrote its bad online reviews, some of which direct customers to a nearby competitor. The Boardroom of Melbourne, which bills itself as one of the city’s top brothels, wants the Federal Court to force Google to hand over the IP addresses linked with the negative reviews after the search engine giant refused to reveal the identities behind them and take them down.”

Search Engine Land: Fake and inaccurate reviews driving billions in ‘wasted’ consumer spending [Report]

Search Engine Land: Fake and inaccurate reviews driving billions in ‘wasted’ consumer spending [Report]. “American consumers said they wasted $125, on average, in 2019 due to inaccurate reviews, a new report finds. If we extrapolate that across the adult population, as much as $25 billion in U.S. consumer spending has been wasted due to inaccurate (or fake) online reviews.”