Jezebel stumbled across this horrible ad that manages to combine two arenas with the most potential for abuse on the internet, Yelp and Craigslist. A help-wanted entry posted in the Los Angeles site’s “writing/editing jobs” section offers “qualified” Yelpers $7 each for every quick, five-star, copy-and-paste job they post. In return, of course, the shady service’s clients get a boost with their presumably subpar ratings.
It’s very simple, apparently, and your new employer will even “forward you the pictures” to accompany all that made-up and flowery praise:
We are looking for Yelpers who are interested in making money part time working from home publishing Yelp Reviews we receive from our client’s customers as testimonials!
Forward you the business page
Forward the comments
Forward you the pictures.
AND PAY YOU THROUGH PAYPAL!
All you have to do is copy the comments and place a 5 star review for the businesses we ask you to place the review for — and that’s it!
You get paid for each review we send you and place that becomes recommended and not filtered.
This shrewd use of the phrase “Yelp Reviews we receive” seems to be the poster’s way of trying to look legit, but the brazenness here is novel, especially considering the potentially dire consequences of doctoring one’s own Yelp page, or having someone do it for you.
Yelp of course says it already vets its own reviews, but there’s also a criminal dimension of the fake review cottage industry: New York State last year fined 19 companies $350,000 for such offenses. Add to this the fact that the court said Yelp can shuffle reviews almost with impunity and faking five stars starts looking like a big gamble, not least of all for those hungry people plugging away at their phones to find a good dinner spot.