Thursday, January 9, 2014

Court: Yelp must identify critics. YES!

"Real people, real reviews." That's Yelp's motto. One problem -- it isn't true.

We're dealing with a bogus 1-star review right now. The writer alleges damages and unprofessional service, but when I've reached out to "her," "she" has ignored all requests for contact. The main item she says we damaged is an expensive chandelier.

One problem -- we never moved this person. We have no record of her. We have received no claims. I have literally offered her money. (Money to compensate for the damage, that is). Nothing. No response. Judging by "her" profile, she is a vile human being who enjoys torturing small animals.

Okay, that last part is pure editorial, not straight news.

So then I come across this article today. A business owner -- who happens to be located just down the street from us -- actually wins a court case against the infamously teflon Yelp. They've dodged at least two, maybe three class action lawsuits in the past, but this one actually stuck.

I. Am. Ecstatic.

I've already paid a law firm to pressure them to give me the identity of the bogus reviewer. Yelp has refused to cooperate, so I'm mulling over a full-on lawsuit. (It would be my first -- I'm so excited!) Yelp says they "don't fact check." Really? So how do they guarantee "real people, real reviews?" As far as I can tell, they rely on their overbearing algorithm that archives legitimate reviews in just a matter of days (usually -- since I've been raising hell with them, and paying protection, I mean, "advertising" fees, our reviews have been staying up longer.)

In other words, they cannot guarantee that their reviewers area real. And despite the fact that we business owners pay so much of their freight, we are treated as third-class citizens. We're given almost no real recourse to deal with bogus reviews.

Anyway, I'm glad to see some motion here. I think I'll call this law firm and see if we can be BFFs.

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