Yelp argues that when a business gets a fake review, the owner has a chance to respond to it. And that is true.
But it is also another stupid defense! Here's why:
1 - When a business gets a fake negative review, you don’t always want to bring attention to it.
2 - Even if you respond to a fake negative review, a customer is not going to know who to believe. Especially if your page has other fake negative reviews (again thank you Yelp).
3 - Sometimes by responding to a fake negative review, you risk making the person who wrote it happy or mad. And then that person might write you another fake negative review. Or they might respond to your response to them and that can lead to a public debate or fight. And a public debate or fight can make you look bad as an owner. Or it can make the fake negative review seem credible since you're having a debate or fight. And by the way, having a debate or fight can bring attention to the fake negative review.
I know what your thinking. Don't have a debate or fight, just respond one time and write "This review is fake?" Well that might work if you have ONE fake review. But what if you have more than one?
For example, let’s say you get 5 fake reviews and all you want to do is respond to each one by writing "This review is fake.” Well Yelp won’t allow that. If you write the same kind of response, they will tell you that they can't allow it because it seems like another response you wrote another time. Can you believe that? You as an owner are not allowed to write the same thing, even if it's the truth?
I know what your thinking. Your thinking don't keep it simple than. Write a long, full, detailed version about why this review is fake. That way Yelp won't say your resposne sounds like another response right? Well that might not work either because Yelp has a limit to how much the owner can write in a response. Can you believe that? There is a word count limit.
Oh, by the way, the person who wrote you the fake review has NO LIMIT. Think about that. A person can have no word count to a fake review. But the owner has a limit in the response to a fake review. Is that fair?
Imagine someone writes you a long negative review with lots of things that are untrue or unfair. And you want to respond back addressing all the untrue and unfair points, but you can't because there is a word count limit. That's not fair. I wonder how many owners have spent time re-editing their response over and over trying to fit everything in word count limit. I wonder how much time is wasted by owners trying to sum things up because they did not have enough room to put a full response. It probably caused more frustration for an owner.
So you can't write too little. And you can't write too much. Why is Yelp so unfair to owners?
Sure, there is a way around all this. You can try to make sure you don't come off as fighting or arguing, and not make all your responses the same, and make sure you don't write too little or too much. But there is another problem.
When an owner responds to a review, the response does not stand out. Yelp makes an owners response small and tucked away.
Can you believe that? It's not fair for the owner. I mean the person who wrote the fake review is allowed to have the review stand out. But the owner is not allowed to have their response stand out? Why? Again, why is Yelp so unfair to owners?
So yes, owners can respond to fake negative reviews. But it's another strange stupid defense from Yelp.