Can You Believe Yelp Reviews?

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Have you ever written a review of a restaurant?  Who is writing all these reviews anyway?  Review sites attempt to judge which reviews are real and which reviews are fakes. Yelp reports that it removes about 20% of reviews from it site because the site suspects they are frauds.  The company admits that it likely eliminates some real reviews, but prefers to err on the conservative side. 

It may be easy to spot a fake review written by a computer program, but marketers can pay human beings to write reviews.  Even so, there may be ways to ferret out a phony.  A study by Cornell University using an algorithm to evaluate reviews found that fake reviews tended to be more likely when the reviews:

            Were the sole reviews written on a particular user’s account.

            Came from many accounts on one computer.

            Differed from most other reviews of the business.

            Contained many gushing adjectives.

            Used vague terms rather than specifics

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