The Los Angeles Times has uncovered some flaws in popular cannabis industry app Weedmaps, which helps users to find cannabis storefronts, doctors and deals, alleging that many of the user reviews are faked. The newspaper reports that of 598 businesses it examined, 70% included reviews originating from the same IP address.
It also engaged another source, Norman Scoullar, a software developer who is planning to launch a rival service. Scoullar analyzed the listings at hundreds of top dispensaries and delivery services and noted that 43 had questionable reviews, with typically 20% of the reviews coming from a few users.
Fakespot, using Scoullar’s data, speculated that college students at USC, UC Irvine and Cal State Long Beach, where many of the reviews originate, may be engaging in some form of compensated reviews. One dispensary had 5 IP addresses accounting for 40 of its 53 reviews. Fakespot found issues with more than half of all the Weedmaps reviews.
Weedmaps President Chris Beals told The Times that the company will be implementing many upgrades in the near future, including changes to the reviews that will bring the feature up to internet standards.
Read Paresh Dave’s “Weedmaps — a Yelp for pot — is riddled with suspicious reviews”: http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-weedmaps-data-breach-20160817-snap-story.html