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Before you visit a place or buy a product, you’re likely to want to read reviews to make sure the time/money you spend will be worth it? Have you ever bought something off Amazon without reading the reviews at the bottom? Do you post reviews of places you’ve been/things you’ve bought? Word-of-mouth is the best (or maybe worst?) thing a business can have.

Yelp.com is quickly becoming the biggest review site for small businesses, and they’re being sued for allegedly sketchy practices.

Is Yelp REALLY that bad? Welcome to the world of every day gossip, now magnified by the internet. My friend really, really hates the bakery I frequent most, and I really, really hate the pastry shop she and her family go to regularly. We both have terrible things to say about each other’s respective favorite bakeries- does that mean we’re defaming these businesses? No. The owners might be upset with our reviews, but they’d never know that we refuse to be patrons of their establishment unless we walked in there and told them flat out. Now, with Yelp, the owners CAN see just how many people dislike their business. And instead of making improvements, many of them are up in arms about “false and defamatory review[s].” The sticking point here, though, is that people are more likely to write/tell friends a negative review over a bad one. If the service was way above and beyond, then you’re slightly more likely to tell people than if you were just regularly satisfied with the service. If the service was really awful, then you’re most likely definitely going to tell your friends to never go there,  right?  I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with Yelp. While it’d be fantastic for their reviews to be monitored/verified, it’s not necessary. It just means that businesses need to always go the extra mile to make sure their good reviews outnumber their bad.

If Yelp is asking for payments from a particular business to take negative reviews off their site for that business, then yes, that’s extremely sketchy. Does that warrant a lawsuit? Maybe. I think it needs to be investigated further. It seems the inverse of the recent laws regulating bloggers who must disclose product ties!


3 Responses

  1. its whatever yelp wants to evolve it into, they can go the high road or the low. it is like how some blogs have civilized comments sections and others don’t! Even places like stuff white people like blog have had their comments section devolve into crap by the end…

  2. Dora, thanks for this…do you think if we badmouth Yelp they’ll pay us to take it down?

  3. wow great piece.

    Free speech vs defamation/libel/slander (i’m too lazy to look up the correct legal term)

    businesses will definitely just hire people to write good reviews if they need to, just like movies obviously hire people to go on review sites and write how amazing their movie is.

    if you can’t say anything bad though and your reviews are going to be challenged or swamped by fake good reviews, what’s the point …

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