Operation Clean Air: Clearing Up Misconceptions of Yelp's Review Filter

Last week, the New York Attorney General's "Operation Clean Turf" fined 19 companies a total of $350,000 for writing fake reviews on behalf of their clients. The case sets a laudable precedent not only for the future of local search, but for digital marketing more broadly.

While the amount of the fines is hardly Earth-shattering, the outcome of this operation should give pause to any SEO or reputation-management company considering quick-and-dirty, underhanded tactics to boost their clients' rankings, "improve" their clients' reputations, or launch negative attacks on competitors.

In the wake of this settlement, however, a wave of media coverage and a study by researchers at the Harvard Business School have clouded the reality of Yelp's review filter—already poorly understood by typical business owners—even further. In this piece I hope to dispel four misconceptions that it would be easy to conclude from these recent publications.  

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Article by David Mihm

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