Yell defends ‘own staff’ reviews

Yell has defended getting its staff to write more than 6,000 glowing reviews of restaurants and bars for the Trusted Places website which it owns.
According to reports, it drafted in its own salesforce to write reviews, offering prizes to the staff who wrote the most. The contest yielded 6,700 entries, accounting for about one in eight of the reviews on the site.
The winner, Ed Janner from Yell’s HR team, bashed out 795 in just two weeks, equivalent to writing 57 a day. He won an iPad, while runners-up shared £400 in Amazon vouchers.
But the company has defended the move. Yell’s head of social products and co-founder of Trusted Places Sokratis Papafloratos is quoted as saying: “We view our people as ambassadors and it’s essential that they use and understand our products and services.
“All our people are consumers in their own right and perfectly entitled to an objective, genuine opinion.”
Last month, Yell UK reported that turnover for its printed directories has plummeted 21 per cent to £163m, while digital rose by just 3 per cent to £90m.

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