Several lawsuits have been filed against Yelp users that have posted bad reviews and featured in newspaper articles.  There may be many more lawsuits that have not been reported.  Additionally, some people are threatened with lawsuits that are sometimes never filed in order for companies to get negative information removed from the Yelp website.

A friend of mine used a cleaning service to clean her house, didn’t like the service and posted a bad review.  Months after, she was contacted by an attorney.  The cleaning company hired a lawyer to try and scare my friend into taking down the negative review.  She decided to take down the negative review but posted another review explaining that she was contacted by a lawyer after leaving a negative review.

What would these businesses do if the entire Yelp community decides to boycott businesses that sue, or threaten to sue, people that post negative reviews?  I think that those businesses would suffer much worse losses than those warranted by a bad review or two.  Can Yelp stay in business if people are afraid to post negative reviews?  It will be interesting to see what happens in the long run.

6 Comments »

  1. it’s bizarre to me that companies can sue people over their opinions

    #1 by deka — January 13, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  2. It’s not amazing to me that some company would file a lawsuit against someone filing a reviiew against Yelp. Considering the opportunity that a disgruntled employee would have for revenge to submit a false review. It would be easy for someone that had a boil on there butt to take it out on a organization that normally tries hard to please their customers. I take ALL reviews with a grain of salt until I have a chance to experience myself the reviewed business. I’ve often read movie reviews that made the movie sound like it sucked so bad that I didn’t pay to see it until it came out on DVD, and then ended up loving the movie. There more than several businesses suing Yelp for false reviews. I personally read a bad review about a place that I frequent, and I found it totally obsurd because I happened to enjoy the place, food, and the service. People should never listen to someone else’s opinion about something that they are interested in. You should not be afraid to experience for yourself and make your own personal review. Most times you’ll find that some other opinion about the place sucked, and was totally off

    #2 by Dennis — January 13, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

  3. It has been my experience that the reviews are more a reflection of the character of the writer(s) than the failings of a business. I was taught that if you have nothing good to say about someone you said nothing. That has a more profound effect than making written statements which often do not have a basis in fact. Each business is governed by a board which should address and document legitimate complaints. Attempting to circumvent the process by providing a forum for the disaffected under the guise of freedom of speech, and then charging money to businesses so that they can presumably “protect” their interests is a racket.

    #3 by Al Diing — February 19, 2009 @ 11:00 am

  4. Giving a negative review based on your opinion is perfectly fine. The store looked dirty,service was poor,
    and I found salesman lacking knowledge. I was very disappointed and I wouldn’t recommend going there. that’s fine.

    However when there are blatant factual assertions that are
    clearly lies by the reviewer that leads to a tirade against the business base on these lies, then the reviewer
    and provider should be potentially libel for the damages
    they incurred on the business based on the inaccurate
    factual information in the review.

    #4 by Alan Kummer — July 12, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

  5. While most Yelp! reviews, good and bad, are legit, it’s a known fact that trolls have posted many false, negative reviews.
    This includes “reviews” written by ex-spouses and disgruntled ex-employees using false names.

    There needs to be some control exerted over such behavior.

    #5 by David — July 27, 2009 @ 8:16 am

  6. What about individual extortion…twice in the last year I was threatened by a Yelper Elite that if I didnt give them my service for free they would give me a negative review. I refused to be extorted and true to their word I was slammed on Yelp. The problem is that they lied about the converstaion to play the victim. Worse, one Yelper accused me of asking if him and his friend were “Life Partners”? He said I accused him of being gay and he was offended! This conversation never even came close to existing! SO where is the accountability for Yelpers using elite status to extort a business with negative reviews comprised of fabricated conversations?

    #6 by Matthew — January 24, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

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