What does Yelp’s ‘Consumer Alert’ Mean For Businesses?

As if getting a bad review was not enough. Now the popular online company Yelp, which has recently been at odds with Businesses almost everywhere they do business, is beginning to place “Consumer Alerts” on their users’ mobile applications for some businesses.

The alerts are intended to let consumers know when negative reviews are likely fake or written by competitors, but now this leaves business owners in even more of a sticky situation with Yelp now placing outlets for negative feedback within their own application. With this being done on both iOS and Android platforms, they’re attempting to gain all quarters of the market share.

But what does it mean for businesses? How can businesses fight back against these new changes that have allowed people to comment about them publicly without any accountability on a platform that has more than 120 million unique visitors every month?

How can consumers combat fake reviews? Will this hurt business revenue? We’ll explore these questions and more as we understand what Yelp is doing with these alerts and how it will affect the company, lawsuits included.

Yelp’s Consumer Alerts

In early September of 2015, Yelp made an announcement on their blog about their new service called Consumer Alerts. In short, they show you which reviews are likely fake or written by competitors by marking those with a red flag next to them… But the moment you click on the alert to read the review, it directs you directly to the business’s Yelp page! It’s brilliant really. From there consumers have all of your business information a click away and a button to leave a review.

What this means is that Yelp has now allowed users to comment about businesses anywhere on their phones, but still have all of the business’s information at their fingertips from your page! Talk about being in control of the market share.

A fact sheet put out by Yelp makes it no secret as to why they are doing this: “Yelp provides consumers with content they expect from us – high quality, useful and relevant – while helping businesses find new customers.”

But what does this mean for you? How can you fight back against bad reviews or even fake ones? And most importantly how can you navigate Yelp’s new changes successfully? We’ll cover that here. 

Why Businesses Should Care

Aside from Yelp providing direct access for potential customers to leave reviews, they are also putting the review platform right at their fingertips. Business owners will be able to easily respond directly to any negative comments about their business and with no limit on how many times you can do so. Do keep in mind that if the user decides to delete or edit their review, your response would go with it though.

But there is more! With this new update, you’ll see “Consumer Alerts” on both iOS and Android platforms making sure that consumers everywhere have easy access to your Yelp page while having knowledge of whether or not a negative comment on them is likely fake or by one of your competitors. This will hurt revenue… But there’s more!

Yelp has made it so that any time you go to a different business profile, your own will be mentioned at the top. This ensures that whenever someone navigates away from your page, they’ll be reminded by Yelp of your business and what’s going on with your brand. This makes it really hard for businesses to maintain or even start developing a consumer base without being constantly bombarded by those looking to leave negative feedback about their experience.

Yelp is Really Gaining Power Here

With this update, not only can consumers easily leave reviews but also companies have an easier way to respond directly as well as promote themselves through the use of badges and other important marketing tools to target specific markets within Yelp itself. While that may sound great, it does mean that Yelp is developing a monopoly on the market… But there’s more!

Yelp can add your business to its own map service. This means not only do you get a link back from your page listing to your website, but they can also add other businesses supporting their cause too! The more businesses registered with Yelp, the closer they’ll be too controlling ​the entire industry of online review platforms.

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