Yelp is one of the most important destinations on the Web. Its database of user-generated reviews can offer potential shoppers a quality source to vet a business before they shop. But faked reviews are threatening to dilute that landscape, eating away at the purity that a service like Yelp needs in order to be successful. In response, the company has announced new and aggressive steps to remove these false reviews.

The CEO of Yelp, Jeremy Stoppleman, is creating something of a firestorm with the announcement. Companies caught “soliciting” reviews by paying their reviewers will now get a kind of badge that designates their business as one that paid for reviews. This messages comes as a popup that the user cannot avoid clicking on. With Yelp reputation already being such a hot commodity, businesses will need to exercise even more caution when asking for reviews.

Our CEO, Carl Medley, wrote about this change in policy.