Cracking down on fake online reviews - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Cracking down on fake online reviews

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A Harvard Business School study says one extra star on the website Yelp can boost a business' sales by up to 8 percent.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is trying to cut down on fake reviews online. After a year-long undercover operation, Schneiderman has forced 19 companies to agree to stop writing fake online reviews.

They are third parties paying people in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe as little as a dollar a day to write fake reviews in places like Yelp, Google Local and Citysearch.

"Most frighteningly, this extends beyond simple products and services,” says Schneiderman. “We found cases where there are medical professionals' reviews being falsified, lawyers and sleep and weight loss clinics.”

The companies are working to fight the fakes too. In a statement, Yelp told FOX 5: "More than 100 million visitors come to Yelp each month, making it critical that Yelp protect the integrity of its content. We take many steps to do this, including the use of automated filtering software, leveraging our vast user community for tips about suspicious content, undercover sting operations, legal action, and cooperation with law enforcement."

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