(imgur)

Yellowstone Visitors Ask The Park To Please Train Bears To Hang Out Where Humans Can See Them

Who needs Yelp for government parks and services when you can just leave a comment card? While it’s quite normal to be disappointed at not seeing any animals on a visit to Yellowstone National Park, the thing is, there’s no guarantee of seeing wild animals, being that they’re, well, wild, and they do as they please. But that didn’t stop park guests from politely asking rangers to point some bears in the right direction. [More]

You Can Now Rate And Review U.S. Government Services On Yelp

You Can Now Rate And Review U.S. Government Services On Yelp

The wait time to get customer support from the Internal Revenue Service is stretching on into infinity. The Transportation Security Administration agents at one particular airport checkpoint always seem to have it out for you. There’s one particular bathroom at Yellowstone National Park that is the best and everyone should know about it. Whatever your experience with U.S. government services, you can now review it on Yelp. [More]

Federal Judge Applies Common Sense, Decides Yelp Reviewers Are Not Employees

Federal Judge Applies Common Sense, Decides Yelp Reviewers Are Not Employees

Last year, we shared the news that a group of Yelp reviewers whose accounts had been deactivated were suing the website for back wages. The ex-reviewers claimed that they had performed the functions of an employee, with guidance and critique from Yelp management, by providing content that the site could sell ads against. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg dismissed the case last week [More]

(photo: colonelchi)

A Year After Restaurant Owner Asked Me To Change Yelp Review, Things Got Weird

You may remember reader Mark, who left a bad Yelp review for a local tavern back in 2013, then received a request from the business’s new owner asking him to change or remove the review. Mark declined. That was a year ago: the owner apparently went through his Yelp inbox recently to rage at correspondents. Here is our gift to small business owners: another cautionary tale about how not to handle your online presence. [More]

An example of the new statistics users can find for health facilities on Yelp. [via Yelp]

Yelp Adds Hospital Wait Times, Nursing Home Fine Info To Reviews

When a trip to the emergency room is in order, you’re usually in a hurry, because, after all, it’s an emergency. Sitting around waiting to be seen by a doctor can be an agonizing experience for those in need of quick help. While Yelp can’t hurry along those doctors, it can apparently tell you just how long you might expect to be camped out in the hospital E.R. [More]

(Photos in the Sunset)

Suspect In Mall Pretzel Stand Robbery Hides Out In Same Mall’s Chili’s

Last night, something scary happened at the Macomb mall in Michigan: a man passed a pretzel stand employee a note demanding cash and stating that he had a gun. The employee handed over cash, and the robber left on foot. Police and mall security didn’t have to look very far, it turns out… they spotted the suspect at a standalone Chili’s restaurant that shares a parking lot with the mall. [More]

(Sybren Stüvel)

Nearly 70% Of Consumers Rely On Online Reviews Before Making A Purchase

Everyone has an opinion, and nowadays most people are willing to share it; for better or worse. So it shouldn’t be surprising then – what with the sheer number of outlets available in which consumers can express their feeling about products and services – that nearly seven-in-ten consumers actually base their purchases on the digital recommendations of strangers. [More]

Lawmakers Propose Bill To Prevent Businesses From Suing You For Complaining About Them

Lawmakers Propose Bill To Prevent Businesses From Suing You For Complaining About Them

Most of the time, consumer interactions with businesses go just fine. We give a company our money, they provide us with goods or services, and everyone is happy. But sometimes, things go awry. The customer isn’t happy, the business doesn’t make it right, and we complain: not just to the business, but to Facebook, Twitter, or Yelp. And that, too often, is when the story starts to get even uglier. [More]

Yelp Reportedly Testing The Merger Market

Yelp Reportedly Testing The Merger Market

Yelp might still be the most recognizable name in crowdsourced online reviews, but it may be hitting a wall in terms of audience growth as it faces increasing competition; all the while, the company’s stock price remains less than half of what it used to be. All of this might explain why the company is reportedly looking to find a buyer for its multibillion-dollar business. [More]

New Law Would Ban Companies From Penalizing Customers Who Write Negative Reviews

New Law Would Ban Companies From Penalizing Customers Who Write Negative Reviews

For the last couple of years, we’ve been telling you about ridiculous, so-called “non-disparagement” clauses that threaten customers with financial penalties for writing (or threatening to write, or even encouraging someone else to write) something negative online about a company. California has already outlawed these clauses, which tend to fail when challenged in court, but an attempt to enact legislation at the federal level has so far fallen short. But that’s not stopping some members of Congress from trying to ban this form of consumer bullying. [More]

Court Dismisses Yelp Shareholder Lawsuit Over Bogus Reviews, Inflated Stock Prices

Court Dismisses Yelp Shareholder Lawsuit Over Bogus Reviews, Inflated Stock Prices

Last summer, some Yelp shareholders filed a class-action lawsuit against the online review site, alleging that Yelp misled them about the quality of user-generated reviews and the process Yelp uses to screen for bogus write-ups. This week, a federal court judge sided with Yelp and dismissed the complaint, saying that a reasonable investor would not believe that every review posted to an open and free online community would be genuine. [More]

Send Us Your Favorite (And Least Favorite) Punny Business Names

Send Us Your Favorite (And Least Favorite) Punny Business Names

It started with a misdial. Specifically, a car repair business misdialed and reached my house instead, hanging up immediately. Checking out the number to make sure that there was no mixup, I learned that the business that had called me was a specialist repair shop for a make of car that I don’t own. Its name: The Saab Story. [More]

Virginia’s Highest Court Says Yelp Doesn’t Have To ID Anonymous Reviewers

Virginia’s Highest Court Says Yelp Doesn’t Have To ID Anonymous Reviewers

For nearly two years, we’ve been telling you about the Virginia carpet cleaner trying to compel Yelp to identify seven of anonymous users so that the business could name them in a defamation lawsuit. After Yelp lost legal battles in both the trial and appeals courts, the state’s highest court today ruled in favor of the review site, but only because the subpoena was served in the wrong state. [More]

Amazon Home Services' coverage area. [Click to enlarge]

Amazon Officially Launches Program Connecting Customers To Local Service Providers

Amazon’s quest to touch every aspect of consumers’ lives continued today as the company rebranded and officially launched a program connecting customers with local service providers for repairs, installations or other jobs around the house. [More]

Obedience School Sues Yelper For $65K Over Negative Review

Obedience School Sues Yelper For $65K Over Negative Review

A few months ago, a Virginia woman began taking her dog to obedience class, and when the training wasn’t what she expected, she requested a pro-rated refund and wrote a negative review of the school on Yelp. Now she’s facing a $65,000 defamation lawsuit. [More]

Restaurant Uses Surveillance Footage To Disprove 1-Star Yelp Review

Restaurant Uses Surveillance Footage To Disprove 1-Star Yelp Review

Being unable to get a seat at a busy restaurant where you don’t have a reservation is probably not a justifiable reason to give the place a one-star writeup on Yelp. But if you are going to put that negative stamp on a restaurant, at least tell the truth. [More]

(Bill Binns)

FTC Report Alleges Google Used Anti-Competitive Practices Prior To 2013

When conducting a search on Google, consumers have a reasonable expectation that results will show a variety of options related to their inquiry. But a recently disclosed report shows that wasn’t always the case. [More]

The "Social Media Addendum" for this Orlando-area apartment complex not only fines tenants $10,000 for negative online reviews, but transfers the copyright of anything you write or any images you publish about the property or its management.

Apartment Complex Claims Copyright On All Tenants’ Reviews & Photos Of Property

When you move into an apartment building you may face all sorts of rules about noise, public areas, trash collection, and paint colors, but one Florida management company tried to go the extra mile by including a “social media addendum” telling tenants that not only will they be hit with a $10,000 fine for griping about their living situation on any social media platform, but that the apartment owners automatically hold the copyright for anything tenants write about — and any photos they take of — the place. [More]