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Study Shows an Increase in Local Competition Encourages Negative Review Fraud on Yelp

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Yelp knows they have a problem with fake reviews. They say they have it under control thanks to a sophisticated filter system which removes around 25% of all incoming reviews. But a new university study called “Fake it Till You Make It” (a weird name for a University study but whatever. . . ) pretty much says that as long as Yelp exists there will be fraud – not because people are mean and unethical – but because the incentive to get a high rating is worth the risk.

In addition to a study of positive fake reviews, Boston University’s Georgios Zervas and Michael Luca of the Harvard Business School studied incidents of negative review posting against competitors.

eBay Solidifies eCommerce Position with a Local Mobile Push

ebay nowWhen eBay launched as a marketplace for one-offs and collectibles, people thought it would fizzle as fast as a dud firework. Eighteen years later, they site has grown to be a major force in the eCommerce world. Still, stocks fell 6% today after the company predicted a sluggish holiday season due in part to that nasty old government shutdown.

Fear not – eBay shall bounce back (and soon I hope because my eBay sales are suffering!) Check out these numbers from yesterday’s conference call:

  • 137 million active accounts globally
  • In Q3, eBay’s core Gross Merchandise Volume grew 12% over the prior year.
  • 2.4 million new users acquired through mobile in Q3.
  • Fixed-priced listings accounted for 71% of GMV globally and more than half of all U.S. transactions shipped free in Q3. (There’s that free shipping thing! Customers love it.)

Bing Launches Linked-Offers: Use Your Credit Card, Get a Deal

The downside to most coupons is that you have to have them to use them. Logical, I know, but at least a few times a month I end up at a store or restaurant when the coupon for the establishment is at home on my desk. It makes me crazy but Bing is here to help.

Bing is currently testing a new program called Card-Linked offers in Seattle, Washington. The consumer signs up for the program, lists their credit card and debit card numbers, then a deal is automatically applied when they meet the discount conditions.

bing offers linked cardsHere’s a deal for 10% off a meal at Blue Ginger Korean Grill & Sushi in Bellevue. To get this deal, you only have to show up at the restaurant, eat, then pay with your linked card.

Hide and Seek: 30 Percent of Adults Use Social Location Tagging

Bonjour! I’m writing this post from a cafe near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. I can prove it:

Paris France
See. Twitter says I’m in Paris. And if you see it on the internet it must be true, right?

Come closer and I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m not in Paris. I’m in Southern California but I found these interesting stats about social location tagging and decided to take the system for a test drive. Turns out you can put anything you want in that space and Twitter accepts it even though my IP address clearly shows where I am.

Waze Traffic Reports Integrated In Google Maps

waze_incidentThe maps wars drag on and Google is doing all that it can to hold off any true competitors (read: Apple Maps).

The latest update to Maps is the use of Waze traffic data to help users navigate their way around difficult traffic situations.

The Google LatLong / Maps blog tells us

Users of Google Maps for Mobile will now benefit from real time incident reports from Waze users. This means when Wazers report accidents, construction, road closures and more on Waze, the updates will also appear on the Google Maps app for Android and iOS in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, UK and the US

Waze users are not required to move over to Google Maps to get that functionality either as new features come to Waze itself

Yelp Finally Enables Mobile Users to Post Reviews From Mobile App

YelpConfession time.

I don’t use Yelp. The main reason for this is that I am woefully uncool. It hurts to admit it, but there, it’s out in the open. (Of course those who actually know me are not falling out of their chairs with this ‘revelation’. They are just most likely scratching their heads at why I am admitting this in a post and chalking it up to ‘being Frank’). At any rate, I share that with you to frame the announcement by Yelp that users can now write posts directly in the mobile apps rather than waiting to get back to the desktop.

AOL’s Patch Trying to Mend Itself

We used to write about Patch from time to time in the past when it looked like there might be something to patch-logoall of the bluster that AOL’s CEO, Tim Armstrong, would generate around it. It looked like AOL had found the holy grail of the hyper local space (if you believed their hype that is) and the idea of true local reporting being both scalable and profitable was finally within reach.

Fast forward to the end of last week and the news reported by fellow AOL owned entity, TechCrunch, is not so good.

We reported yesterday that AOL’s hyper-local news service would lose hundreds of employees today, and now we have confirmation from a well-placed Patcher privy to the call that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong did indeed confirm to employees that hundreds would be laid off, with notifications of who will be let go coming throughout the coming week. (Disclosure: AOL owns TechCrunch).