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Online reviews have a major trust problem

Yelp doesn't get the best reviews these days.

Check the company's own business page on its website, and you'll find a laundry list of single-star reasons why people have come to mistrust the reviews hub: high-profile scandals, accusations of censorship, conspiracy theories. "They suppress real customer reviews that don't fit into their utopian view of what a review should be," said one representative user.

"Stop trying to social engineer and steer consumers by picking the winners and losers.". Yelp isn't alone.

The internet and the explosion of smartphone ownership have made the opinions of anyone with an internet connection an indispensable part of almost every consumer decision. Whether you're in the market for a new car, wandering into a coffee shop, or browsing store aisles, there's a good chance you might weigh the collective wisdom of the crowd.

Unfortunately, online reviews are a mess. They're still the first stop for consumers looking to buy stuff, but also the scene of an ongoing battle between conflicted platforms, aggressive businesses, and angry customers.

Businesses know this, and they're still working to game the system.


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