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Yahoo! restaurant reviews and rankings manipulated by fake comment companies

24 Comments

Yahoo! Answers has become the latest web service to be plagued by fake contributors in Japan.

Corporate giant Jalux, which operates a popular bento lunch box business out of Haneda Airport, is accused of employing a company to post comments under the guise of a variety of independent web surfers, TBS reported Tuesday. Jalux is believed to have contracted a company to post comments, ostensibly written by objective diners, publicizing its business. The contributions were posted in answer to such questions as, "Where is a good place to eat in Haneda Airport?"

The news follows the revelation that popular restaurant recommendation site Tabelog was also subject to the same abuse last year. The Japanese restaurant information and social review website, which relies on independent and neutral recommendations to drive traffic, had its rankings manipulated by paid review posters.

Tabelog claimed that at least 39 companies were involved in the practice. The companies' business model is based on promising restaurants improved ratings and page views through fake reviews on trusted websites.

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24 Comments
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TOKYO —

Yahoo! Answers has become the latest web service to be plagued by fake contributors in Japan.

Wrong. Yahoo! answers has become the latest thing JT (or whoever has written this article) has discovered is plagued by fake contributors.

People in the know have been gaming Yahoo! answers since day one.

2 ( +1 / -0 )

Yahoo answers always seem to be written by little kids.

4 ( +3 / -0 )

I can't believe this because for the 20 years I've lived in Japan I've always been told that the Japanese are ALL honest and never lie! (is my sarcasm blatant enough?) The only thing that shocks me is that it took this long to realise.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Yahoo shameful company. Not for nothing they say about it: the titans of technology, the Pygmies in the business.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What??? not everything on the net is true?????????????? OMG

5 ( +4 / -0 )

Why is this news? Everyone does this, I know several marketing companies that actively do this... including denstu (the largest in Japan)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Its almost as cheesey as those "real customers" whose impression you hear on the shopping channels/infomercials.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

how where they found out the say only "ooooooooshiiiiii" like the "talento" on the japanese TV?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The problem is that it is too easy to cheat on these systems since it is difficult to verify if there was an actual customer transaction behind it. For that reason I am currently building up a company (tenqyu) where one of the campaign concepts is that you are only allowed to vote for the restaurant if you have unlocked the right to do so. You can only become a "regular" if you have been there n times over a period m. Where n and m is determined by the participating company.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Lonely Planet Guides and other travel books for years have been plagued with accusations that "writers" - whether real or not - turn up asking for discounts/ freebies/ benefits in exchange for good reviews. Just another form of marketing or PR. Only the gullible get taken in by them...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan had these サクラ (shills) since the Edo period.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Part of one of my friend's job required him to drive around town and buy CDs of the current singer his company was promoting. His company contacted similar companies throughout the country to do the same thing and voila! Instant Top Ten hit.

This is the same except now my friend can stay home in his underwear and accomplish much more. Good for him! How can I get this kind of job?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Dennis Bauer: Excellent point, how is this different from talento eating something and saying "oshiiiiiiiiii"

Extending that, how is this any different to companies that sponsor TV shows and have their products talked about within the show itself?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Telling Japanese to their faces (but politely) that they are behaving in an unfair/dishonest manner actually improves their conduct ... for a while.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

there's no way to control this type of fraud, where anyone can post almost any opinion (just like right here in this forum). it's always up to you to make your own choice (wow, me deep :)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@gaijintechie, I have also made a point of telling the Japanese not to be dishonest but as you say to no avail in the long run. Unfortunately in this case there is no way to stop them.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

There is a job like this in Mexico this year... when a trending topic appears attacking a specific politician, a group of people began to flood the twitter in stupid trending topics like "I Love Bieber" until the wild trending topic is forgotten...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yahoo! Answers is the world's longest standup routine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Two words: Mechanical Turk.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I just find it incredible that people can go through life and apparently enjoy it while having so little pride or integrity and will do anything just about anything for some money.

I would not be able to look myself in the mirror. Mind you, I have no problem cheating known cheaters, jipping known jippers, and lying to known liars, or otherwise fighting fire with fire, but to start the fire? Some people are just hollow inside.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think if we all stood up and said no to dishonest Japanese, politely or directly, it doesn't matter then their culture will begin to change at least in their interactions with foreigners. That's why tourists don't come here, because of the reputation for deviousness, so aptly illustrated by this article. Well caught JT!

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

That's why tourists don't come here, because of the reputation for deviousness

The Japanese have their own set of honest patterns, dishonest patterns and cognitive dissonance patterns, just every culture. They are no more or less devious in general than anyone else. The reputation is undeserved, and its just the result of cultural bias combined with a belief in self superiority.

But that is not why the tourists don't come here. Prices have long been too high and now we have the nuke disaster. Everybody knows they are more likely to face downright devious behavior in India, yet the tourists still go there because its cheap among other things.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Jail them... hehehehe

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We have to be careful to avoid fake reviews sometimes we get amazed by flowery that they keep using.advertisement is very important specially to company its for their company to be known but its not good to sell products using fake reviews.Pay for your advertisements with .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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