Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hijacking The Collective Intelligence of the Web

I've been talking a lot lately about how the collective intelligence of the web will help value-creating enterprises rise to success, while letting unworthy enterprises fail. Well, here's one way that these unworthy businesses are trying to combat this: fake Yelp reviews for pay.    
Screenshot from Craigslist Los Angeles

Notice how for it to be convincing, the paid writers need to have active and established Yelp accounts. Very clever.


  1. Fake reviews do pose a threat to the value of user review and rating systems, but in my experience all it takes is one review crying foul over the fake reviews to invalidate the entire product. This personally has happened to me on Amazon a couple times -- where a product has suspiciously high reviews, followed by a low review pointing out that the company rewards high reviews with coupons or similar. Once I read that, I immediately disregard that product and move on.

    1. Yep, and the more fake reviews there are out there, the bigger the customer backlash. So the companies using fake reviews may benefit for a while, but in time the real reviews will win out. Often you can just tell from the tone that a review is fake.