You scratch my Yelp, I'll scratch yours
How far can you trust that Yelp review? That depends, according to a story by The Times' Jessica Guynn and Andrea Chang. On the one hand, a group of South Bay businesses was recently busted for swapping backslapping testimonials of one another on the website. On the other, it was Yelp itself that busted them, pulling down the offending reviews and sending stern notes to the offenders.
"This was a sophisticated effort to bolster the reputation of members of this business networking group through five-star reviews," said David Lee, Yelp's user operations manager. "Reviews that have a bias lead to a poor consumer experience."