On Monday, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that 19 companies agreed to cease their practice of writing fake online reviews and pay hefty penalties for false advertising and deceptive business practices. Dubbed “Operation Clean Turf,” his investigation found that these businesses – ranging from bus companies to teeth whitening services — systematically tried to game the system by paying freelance writers from Philippines, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe between $1 to $10 per review. Schneiderman’s office cited a 2011 study by Michael Luca, assistant professor at Harvard Business School, which said a one-star rating hike on Yelp can mean a 5% to 9% rise in restaurant revenue.
Newsflash: Significant Percentage of Online Reviews Are By Paid Flacks
In case you hadn't realized already, a significant proportion of online opinion is nothing more than paid advertising. Is there an app that detects bullshit? From Market Watch: