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.