A guide to practicing (ethical) PR on Yelp and other review sites

Bad reviews on websites such Yelp and TripAdvisor can damage a company’s reputation, but so can fake reviews. Here’s how to ethically tackle these murky online waters.

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I don’t know about you, but these days, I religiously check online product and business reviews before trying anything new.

What does Urbanspoon have to say about the quality of that hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant down the street? Where can I find a clean, inexpensive hotel room in South Beach? Which laptop do the masses recommend I buy?

The Internet has fundamentally changed the way that buyers and sellers interact in the marketplace. E-commerce sites make it easy to comparison shop and purchase, while crowd-sourced online review sites help customers make more informed buying decisions.

As a result, reviews—good and bad—spread faster and reach more people than ever before. Typically, business owners will find that positive user-generated content adds credibility and provides the chance to interact with customers. On the flip side, unhappy customers are often quick to voice their displeasure on websites and social channels, and negative reviews can quickly take a bite out of sales.

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