Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders

Loading... Be Patient!

Caught Red-Handed trying to Buy Reviews for this Dealership

Some dealership decision makers may not be aware that Yelp has 78 million monthly visitors and Yelp is now Yelp'ing that 78 million visitors “can be a strong incentive for some businesses to try to game the system.”

I’ve heard first hand from dealerships the audacious truth of how they game Yelp, then wonder why they can’t get customer reviews published.  Dealerships have been known to inflate their ratings with glowing testimonials submitted by friends and employees.

The stakes just went up again! They should. Up to 40% of online reviews are sketchy, according to experts.

The San Francisco-based website, which already tries to filter out dubious reviews, said it will now start posting visible consumer alerts on websites suspected of soliciting reviews-for-hire to boost ratings.

The alerts will stay up for at least 90 days – longer if the suspicious activity continues, according to Yelp.

Users, many of whom consider Yelp to be the last word on whether a business is worth visiting, can click on the alerts for more details.

Yelp also said it will start informing visitors when a business has a slew of reviews posted from the same computer – often a red flag for inauthentic reviews.

My suggestion? Integrate an online management solution that proactively builds "REAL" reviews and STOPS negative ones.

The one missing major takeaway from Yelp’s announcement is…

Review sites with too much negative feedback or dealerships not found on highly ranked review sites will be moved down the Google search stack and compromise their competitive advantage.

Even more reason to encourage customers to post positive feedback on highly ranked review sites from their computer and also make a gentle request to share directly to key internal contacts IF they are unsatisfied

Plus, leverage every customer touch point and follow up with communication incentivizing them to tell you directly they are unsatisfied or passively encourage posting positive feedback on review sites.

Eric Singley, vice president of the site’s consumer products and mobile division said because of Yelp’s clout, “some businesses will go to extreme lengths to bolster their reviews.”

Auto consumers seem addicted to peer review sites such as Yelp, Google Local, CarHelp, DealerRater and more. Good web reviews now weigh so heavily on spending decisions that satire group the Onion recently spoofed the phenomenon with an article titled “Brave Woman Enters Restaurant Without First Looking It Up Online.”
Jerry Hart

Views: 762

Tags: ereputationbuilder, fake, jerryhart, reviews, yelp


Oops... You need to stop "Lurking" on ADM and become a more genuine Automotive Professional by completing your membership registration. As a registered ADM Member, you can post comments, publish your own articles (be a star!) and start Forum discussions. Stop being an online "Peeping Tom" and JOIN ADM RIGHT NOW!

Join Automotive Digital Marketing

Comment by Aj Maida on November 2, 2012 at 5:59am

I wasn't talking about your product. I know you do it the right way. Too many dealers are just sending out an email at the end or beginning of the month asking for reviews and then wondering why they are losing reviews that were posted properly. So there it is folks. If you don't want to or your people won't do this themselves another solution that does it THE RIGHT WAY!!! If you haven't looked at or had a conversation with Jerry and you don't feel you can handle managing your online reputation your self give him a call. We have had some great conversations on the subject and I find that he is always willing to share his knowledge and expertise. (Disclaimer: I am neither a client, employee or shill for Jerry and eReputationBuilder).

Comment by Jerry Hart on November 1, 2012 at 4:01pm

Aj, good feedback. Respectfully, I wanted to clarify a couple of your points. An email solution that methodically follows up each and every day like eReputationBUILDER is very different than a mass email blast where in that case, algorithms  measure reviews that are posted all at once from a large email blast and may penalize the dealership. The Rules as you mentioned from Yelp and Google+ say it's best practice now to organically follow up via email to your most recent customers with easy hot link access to review sites that are relevant to the dealer. Encouraging and guiding prospects/customers to share a great experience methodically with daily communication is about The People, People. The review sites may make it easy to post but that doesn't mean people who had a good experience will remember or take the time to say something positive online.  Even more importantly, at the pivotal moment of sending that email, asking customers if they are unsatisfied is a great path to improve quality assurance and CSI. 

Comment by Aj Maida on November 1, 2012 at 3:03pm

I wish I had seen this earlier. this is some of what I covered last week in my presentation "It's about the People, People". We need to build our reviews organically. You can't just send out an email blast asking for reviews that will then be posted all at once. The review sites actually make it pretty easy. They all publish what they expect we just have to follow the rules.

Comment by Jerry Hart on October 23, 2012 at 10:48am

Ryan and Tom. Thanks for the feedback. I can't speak for dealerships who outsource to have a 3rd party post on behalf of the dealership. From the people I speak to at Yelp, they are not interested in slapping any company that outsources a follow up email communication solution to the customers inbox that's coming from the dealerships brand and voice. More importantly, if any 3rd party outsourced by the dealership is posting, giving feedback, etc..I agree with's the wrong priority.  Dealerships encouraging customers shortly after they touch the brand to share the good news of their experience on highly ranked review sites, according to Yelp is not a violation. Hope to see you guys at DD this week  

Comment by Tom Gorham on October 22, 2012 at 8:01pm

Ryan, we've always been on the same page.  Dealers often spend a lifetime building their reputation.  Why would they suddenly put that in someone elses hands just to get good reviews?  That's the wrong priority.  Just give good customer service and ask for the review.  It takes longer but it's so gratifying to see how your customer really feel about you and know that you aren't risking everything you've earned for years.

Comment by Ryan Leslie on October 22, 2012 at 7:37pm

HA! Tom that made me laugh. You are a wordsmith! What it took me 3 paragraphs to say you captured in just 5 letters ;)

Comment by Tom Gorham on October 22, 2012 at 4:36pm

You're right on Ryan.  If a third party gets you banned, for them it's, "Oh well" but for you it's, "Oh h$%#!"

Comment by Ryan Leslie on October 22, 2012 at 8:55am

I didn't look at all of the examples, but it appears that at least one of the businesses that have been "Red-Flagged" was using a third party that got them in major trouble. The 3rd party was caught soliciting reviews, NOT the business... the results are the same.

While we don't publish all of our efforts to maintain content that is clean from fraud, I can share that some of the blacklisting that we've done on DealerRater was the direct result of 3rd parties hired to act on behalf of a dealership.

I think one important takeaway here is that dealers need to be vigilant about protecting and preserving THEIR reputation. Your reputation is NOT something you can outsource!

Comment by Matthew O'Such on October 22, 2012 at 8:30am

While I couldn't find any that apply to the Automotive industry, I was able to find some live examples of this warning and what "evidence" looks like according to Yelp. Do this Google search: "check out the evidence here"

Comment by Tom Gorham on October 21, 2012 at 6:46am

This has been coming for a long time and is welcome news as long as it's fairly applied across the board.  Google is finally cracking down as I have been predicting for a long time.  Yelp has always been strict but this warning sign is ominous news for those who would game the system.

My advice is and has always been, "Forget in-house reviews, give great customer service, ask your customer to give a review when they get home and then send an email reminder/request.  Then leave it alone.

Try to always answer your reviews, both good and bad in a polite, professional manner.  Thanks Jerry!

Automotive Professional Network and Resource Exchange for Car Dealers, Managers, OEM and Marketing Practitioners seeking Best Practices.

ADM Sponsor

William B. Terry
Rated by Super Lawyers

loading ...

Please Consider Automotive Marketing Professional Community Sponsors

ADM Badge


Based On Your Interests...

ADM Consulting, LLC

Onsite/Offsite Combination ADM Consulting, LLC Professional Services
Select the maximum monthly investment you plan to make
Sign up for

Automotive Marketing Tools

Get ADM Toolbar

Click here to take the ADM Member Survey

Getting too many emails from ADM? Click mailbox below to control which types of alerts and updates you are sent......



ADM Professional Services
Phone Consultation
Topic or Issue:

Top Automotive Marketing Forum Discussions

2. BDC or Virtual BDC

Posted by Peter Stratton on February 26, 2020

Share the Best Content w/AutoMarketing Community

© 2020   Created by Ralph Paglia.   Powered by

ADM Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service