4 Things We’ve Learned About Getting The Best Valentine’s Day Flowers For Your Money

Happyshooter

Every year, after the major flower-giving holidays, readers send us photos of what they ordered and what they actually received. It’s a dismaying scene, and what we really want is to never publish another of these features again. That’s why we’re sharing what we’ve learned about the flower business from readers and from florists in the 10 years that Consumerist has been around. [More]

Is Amazon Doing Anything To Fight Latest Wave Of Fake, Paid-For Reviews?

Is Amazon Doing Anything To Fight Latest Wave Of Fake, Paid-For Reviews?

Since Amazon began allowing customers to post reviews on product pages, various waves of bogus reviewers have attempted to game the system by posting fictitious or dishonest write-ups. While Amazon has recently taken legal action against people paid to write fake reviews for products, and the site has a ban on most forms of “paid” reviews, there’s a new crop of compensated reviewers who are receiving free or discounted products in exchange for then writing “honest” reviews. But some of these users are writing dozens of reviews a day, sometimes for products they couldn’t possibly have tried. [More]

Netflix “Making A Murderer” Documentary Inspires Viewers To Seek Justice… Through Yelp

Netflix “Making A Murderer” Documentary Inspires Viewers To Seek Justice… Through Yelp

Netflix recently premiered a 10-part true-crime documentary Making A Murderer, about controversial murder investigation in Wisconsin. Some viewers of the show have been so moved by what they’ve watched that they’re forming virtual picket lines on Yelp and other review sites. [More]

Facebook Taking On Yelp, Angie’s List To Provide Users With Highly-Rated Professional Services

Facebook Taking On Yelp, Angie’s List To Provide Users With Highly-Rated Professional Services

Finding a reliable service provider can be a test of patience for some consumers, despite sites like Angie’s List and Yelp that aim to connect customers with local professionals focused on repairs, installations, or other jobs around the house. Facebook thinks it has what it takes to make the quest for a dependable handyman, lawn care service, plumber, and other local businesses with its new “Professional Services” feature.  [More]

Google Maps Will Give You 1TB Of Free Storage In Exchange For Restaurant Reviews

Google Maps Will Give You 1TB Of Free Storage In Exchange For Restaurant Reviews

What’s a technology company trying to break into the restaurant review game to do when not enough people are willing to submit restaurant reviews? If you’re Google, you give out a bunch of free storage. [More]

Internet Giants Come Out In Support Of Municipal Broadband

Internet Giants Come Out In Support Of Municipal Broadband

Nearly half the states in the U.S. have laws that ban or severely limit cities and counties from operating broadband networks or from selling that service directly to consumers. This week, a trade group representing the biggest names on the Internet — Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, reddit, Yelp, among others — came out in support of breaking down these anti-consumer barriers. [More]

(Jennifer Moo)

Things Are Looking Up For Federal Law Banning “Gag Clauses” That Prevent Customers From Writing Honest Reviews

While most companies understand that honest negative feedback is, at worst, an inevitability of doing business, and maybe even a chance to improve, some companies try to use non-disparagement, or “gag,” clauses that use threats of legal action or financial penalties to prevent customers from writing or saying anything negative about that business — even if what’s being said is 100% true. We’ve seen these in everything from cheapo cellphone accessories, to wedding contractors, to hotels, to dentists, to weight-loss products, to apartment complexes. California recently enacted a law banning this sort of behavior, and some courts have deemed these clauses unenforceable, but there is still no nationwide consensus on their legality. Previous attempts to create a federal ban on gag clauses have been dead on arrival at Capitol Hill, but the latest effort appears to have some life to it. [More]

Privacy Advocates Concerned As Senate Approves Controversial Cybersecurity Bill

Privacy Advocates Concerned As Senate Approves Controversial Cybersecurity Bill

Despite previous failures, Congress just keeps on churning through bills that propose to enhance digital security at the cost of digital privacy. The latest in the series sailed through the Senate with wide approval this week, kicking off another wave of privacy concerns. [More]

(Paula S)

Restaurant Critic Rails Against “Stupid And Broken” Star-Rating System

We’ve said before that star ratings for restaurants are often arbitrary and may not be an accurate representation of the review’s content or of other diners’ standards. You might think that critics who get paid to give such ratings would defend the practice, but at least one of them has come out swinging against the stars, bells, and other dingbats he and his fellow reviewers are often compelled to use. [More]

(Hulya Ozkok)

Judge: Ranting Yelp Reviewer Must Pay Contractor $1,000

It’s one thing to go online and rant about a business that you’ve dealt with, exercising your right to free speech and warning other consumers away from dealing with that company. The problem, one woman in New York City learned, comes when you accuse the enterprise of actual crimes, using words like “scam” and “fraud,” and the company notices. [More]

Google provided this example of what its new services ad function will look like.

Google Adds Paid Home Service Provider Suggestions To Search Results For “Clogged Toilet,” “Plumber”

Less than a year after Amazon took on the likes of Angie’s List, Yelp and other companies that can connect consumers to professional service providers like plumbers, locksmiths, electricians and others, Google announced it would join the fray by adding prescreened service providers to its sponsored search results. [More]

(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]