Long Story Short
Weedmaps is an online service that’s the Yelp of the cannabis world. But new investigations have found that the site could be riddled with fake reviews. Consumers are now trying to figure out if the site can be trusted. And Weedmaps is trying to figure out what went wrong.
Weedmaps is a cannabis company based in Irvine, California. It provides all sorts of information on marijuana dispensaries, including customer reviews and tons of data about different strains and cannabis products.
And so far, the company’s been pretty successful. It brings in millions every year. Despite its success and its popularity, the site is now finding itself in hot water. That’s because a handful of tech security experts and digital analysts suspect that the site is full of fake customer reviews.
Fakespot, a company that scours the Internet looking for fraudulent customer reviews and user comments, looked into things. They found problems with 62% of all Weedmaps reviews. To give you some context, the same company said that roughly 40% of all Amazon reviews are phonies.
The main problem has to do with IP addresses. Fakespot stated that a large number of Weedmaps reviews come from the same IP addresses. That means there’s a good chance that a single person is writing tons of reviews for a single dispensary. In the world of customer reviews, having a bunch of reviews coming from the same individual is a huge red flag.
What’s Going On?
In light of these discoveries, people are trying to figure what’s going on. Some analysts and customers think these reviews are straight up fraudulent, written to boost a dispensary’s customer ratings unfairly.
But other people think there might be something else going on. For one, Weedmaps President Chris Beals flat out disagrees with Fakespot’s findings. He told sources that there are far fewer questionable reviews than Fakespot thinks there are. Beals also said that customer reviews aren’t the most important feature of Weedmaps. The way he sees it, the data about specific strains is what matters most to customers.
And here’s one final theory. Some people think Weedmaps’ struggles might stem from the challenges currently facing the legal cannabis industry. Since cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, a lot of people don’t want to do business with anybody in the cannabis space—even if it’s legal at the state level.
For example, a lot of dispensaries have to operate as cash-only businesses because banks don’t want to do business with them. And a similar thing could be going on with Weedmaps.
Some analysts said there might be a lot of topnotch web developers and tech security professionals who aren’t excited about working with a cannabis company. As a result, Weedmaps might not be as up to date and secure as it should be.