Yelp Announces Removal of Paid Review Groups & Lead Generators

February 1, 2023

Yelp recently released their 2022 Trust and Safety Report, which detailed the steps they have taken to crack down on lead generators, fake review groups, and businesses incentivizing reviews. To combat these issues, Yelp has identified IP addresses associated with positive reviews originating from fake accounts and collaborated with social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to bring down these online review exchange groups. Additionally, Yelp is monitoring online groups to better target and mitigate content from online review exchange groups by conducting sting operations. For more information about their efforts to combat fake reviews, read their 2021 blog post about their recommendation software here

Yelp's Trust and Safety Report outlines their efforts in 2022 to protect users from incentivized and compensated review activities. Yelp’s User Operations team issued 415+ warnings to businesses engaging in these activities, as well as 88 Consumer Alerts on business pages with evidence of cash or other incentives being offered in exchange for reviews. They also placed 405 Suspicious Review Activity Alerts when their systems detected a large number of positive reviews from a single IP address or users connected to a group coordinating incentivized reviews. Lastly, they made 1,100+ reports to third-party sites such as Twitter (150 reports), Facebook (130 reports), Instagram (110 reports) and LinkedIn (70 reports) to warn them of suspicious groups, posts or individuals participating in online review exchanges. Learn more about Yelp’s Trust and Safety report here:

Yelp recently released their Trust and Safety report which revealed that 77,000 user accounts were closed due to terms of service violations and 32,800 potential new business pages were rejected due to spammy activity. These actions were taken in order to protect their users from deceptive and abusive practices.

An important finding was Yelp's crackdown on lead generation businesses who create fake business pages and sell customer leads to other contractors. This often involves targeting vulnerable customers for services such as locksmiths, movers, home cleaning, etc., with the intent of charging exorbitant costs. Nearly 2,000 business pages have been removed for being associated with lead generators in violation of Yelp's policies [1].

Overall, third-party platforms took action on content at issue in approximately 77% of reviews reported [2], demonstrating Yelp’s commitment to ensuring a safe online environment for both consumers and businesses alike.


The Yelp User Operations team works hard to ensure the integrity of its reviews and other forms of user contributions. In 2022, Yelp reported that 2% of all user contributions had been removed by the User Operations team. This includes reviews, photos, review up-voting and other forms of contributions.

Yelp employs a recommendation software as their first line of defense against deceptive behavior. It works by keeping tabs on users and businesses to learn more about them as they interact with the platform. Additionally, there are human moderators in their User Operations team who manually review reports generated by users, businesses or automated systems. Together these two measures help maintain a high level of trust and safety on Yelp's platform.

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