Yelp offers new ad customization to advertisers

Yesterday Yelp announced “custom ads” for small businesses. They offer advertisers on the platform the ability to select a desired review and image to appear in their ads. This is similar to TripAdvisor’s ad program allowing advertisers to feature a favorite review. Yelp says these ad units are being quickly adopted: By giving advertisers the ability to select which photos and reviews they would like to feature in their ad, we’re providing...

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Google again showing third-party reviews in local results

Google is integrating third-party reviews into the Knowledge Graph for hotels. It apparently has been happening since 2016 and is entirely opt-in for the provider. Google works directly with the third-party review source (e.g., TripAdvisor) to integrate the content. In the example below, TripAdvisor reviews for Southern California hotel Terranea are available under the “view Google reviews” link in the Knowledge Panel. Google got into trouble roughly seven years ago for “scraping” and...

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Coming to terms with fake reviews

Consumers overwhelmingly expect the reviews they peruse on Amazon, Yelp, Google and other review sites to be trustworthy, neutral and objective. But this reasonable expectation is frequently thwarted by the efforts of aggressive marketers who pay third parties to create phony reviews in exchange for compensation or incentivize existing good customers to leave reviews with discounts or free products or services. These deceptive practices — termed “opinion spam” or “sock puppetry”...

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