Yelp cracks down on 'review rings' as Google continues to see widespread mapspam

Locksmiths has always been a troubled category on Google. For years, honest local locksmiths have been crowded out by fake listings and fabricated reviews. Every so often an article calls that to our collective attention.

Sprawling network of fake locations. Most recently, the CBC investigated the category and found “a sprawling network of fake locations and fake five-star reviews cluttering local Google Maps in the Greater Toronto Area.” Google has pledged to address the issue in response.

In June 2019, a wide-ranging Wall Street Journal piece alleged that “millions of business listings on Google are fake” in an article that got considerable attention. In response, Google detailed how it fights spam in Maps and local listings. However many SEOs have long argued that Google doesn’t do enough to combat listings and review fraud. And some have even asserted that Google profits from the status quo, by not aggressively fighting spam.

Google has repeatedly denied this.

Yelp consumer alerts shame bad behavior. Yelp has almost certainly been the most aggressive of the review platforms to take action against spam and review fraud. The company has historically and controversially tried to prevent any form of review solicitation.

In 2012, Yelp initiated a program called “consumer alerts.” Its objective was to notify consumers about “brazen attempts to manipulate ratings and reviews – either by purchasing/incentivizing people…

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