This Starbucks Is Boring, Making Everyone Sad

This Starbucks Is Boring, Making Everyone Sad

You’ve heard of “Dumb Starbucks,” but what about the Ugly Starbucks? A former burger stand has re-opened as a Starbucks, and residents are not happy. There’s no seating outside, they complain there isn’t enough parking, and the exterior is uninspired and hideous. [More]

Yelp Reviewers File Class Action Lawsuit, Want To Get Paid

Yelp Reviewers File Class Action Lawsuit, Want To Get Paid

Last fall, while we were covering fake Yelp reviews of real businesses and real Yelp reviews of fake businesses, a lawsuit questioning the nature of online reviews in a different way was filed on the West Coast. The lawsuit was dismissed in February, but has since been filed again with different attorneys and a different lead plaintiff. Their argument? Elite Yelp reviewers provide a service to the site, and some reviewers are paid, so all of them ought to be. [More]

(jdong)

How Should Business Owners Respond To A Negative Online Review?

We know that the proper response of a business to a bad online review shouldn’t be to post their own fake positive ones, or to fine wedding hosts for the bad reviews by their invited guests. Yet what should the proper response be when someone expresses dissatisfaction with your business…or when you take over a business with a history of bad reviews? [More]

New, Updated Foursquare Is Always Watching You… Even When You Aren’t Running Foursquare

New, Updated Foursquare Is Always Watching You… Even When You Aren’t Running Foursquare

If you launch Foursquare, you expect it to know where you are. The app is explicitly designed to record your location when you open it and so nobody’s shocked if it, well, records their location when they open it. But users who download the new Foursquare are in for a nasty surprise. The app is now tracking users’ locations at all times, whether they’ve opened it or not. [More]

(Rich Rogala)

Yelp Accused Of Lying To Investors About Quality Of Online Reviews

Since it launched a decade ago, some business owners have grumbled that the online review site Yelp allowed users to post fake, negative reviews. Now a potential class-action suit filed against Yelp accuses the site of trying to mislead investors about the quality of user-generated reviews and the way in which the company screens this content. [More]

3 Reasons Why Yelp Should Reconsider Its “Elite” Yelper Program

3 Reasons Why Yelp Should Reconsider Its “Elite” Yelper Program

Nine years ago, online review site Yelp began bestowing “Elite” status upon certain reviewers, rewarding them — sometimes literally, with free swag — for their frequent write-ups and their dedication to the site. While it’s arguably a positive thing for Yelp to recognize certain users, it may be time for the site to reconsider how it runs the whole Elite program. [More]

This is a generic hotel room. (frankieleon)

NY Hotel Fines Brides And Grooms $500 For Each Negative Review Posted By Their Wedding Guests

UPDATE: After hundreds of outraged posts on social media sites, the hotel addressed its Facebook audience early Monday afternoon to say the negative review policy was all just a big misunderstanding. [More]

Yelp’s Video Feature Is Now Live, So You Can Show Exactly What You Mean By “Ear-Splitting Music”

Yelp’s Video Feature Is Now Live, So You Can Show Exactly What You Mean By “Ear-Splitting Music”

If a picture is worth a thousand words — which it is, I just cashed in a picture yesterday — then a video must be even more valuable, right? So thinketh Yelp, as it says that it’s previously announced video feature is now ready for users who want to add short clips to their reviews. [More]

The original Yelp review has since been deleted, but not before the Internet saved this screengrab for posterity.

Restaurant Turns Yelper’s Lame Abortion Joke Into Fundraiser For Domestic Violence Crisis Line

Just like the rest of the Internet, Yelp is not immune to idiots who pepper their “reviews” with boorish, sexist statements that are probably intended to be funny. Most businesses would simply ignore this sort of non-feedback, but a restaurant in Portland (the one to the upper-left) saw a chance to turn a cheap abortion-based semi-joke into a worthwhile cause. [More]

Kate Cox

From AT&T To Verizon: What The Web’s Biggest Players Told The FCC About Net Neutrality

The FCC originally planned to stop taking comments about their net neutrality proposal on Tuesday. But after demand overwhelmed and crashed their antique IT system, they extended the deadline to 11:59 p.m. (EDT) tonight. As of yesterday, well over one million comments had been entered, and that number’s still going up. Clearly, the public cares — but what is the public saying? [More]

Court Allows Company To Ask Amazon To Identify Negative Reviewers

(photographybynatalia)

While courts have held that companies have to prove an online review is libelous before it can be forcibly deleted, there is still a question about whether anonymous review-writers have a right to remain unnamed. A federal judge in Washington state recently decided that one company can request that Amazon provide information about users who left questionable reviews about the plaintiff’s products. [More]

(CaliCBL)

Report: Amazon Launching Local Takeout Service To Compete With The Likes Of GrubHub, Seamlesss

Hot on the heels of the news that the many-armed, grabby beast that is Amazon is set on providing local services for its customers, it’s reportedly working on another foray into the e-commerce world, this time with its test of an online local takeout service, similar to GrubHub, Seamless and others. [More]

Report: Amazon Testing Marketplace That Connects Consumers To Local Service Providers

Report: Amazon Testing Marketplace That Connects Consumers To Local Service Providers

Move over Angie’s List and Yelp, Amazon is reportedly launching a new marketplace to connect consumers with everyday service providers such as plumbers, babysitters and magicians. [More]

(jdong)

Is Yelp Holding Positive Reviews Back When Restaurants Don’t Advertise? Nope

For more than five years now, we’ve reported on business owners’ allegations that review site Yelp makes shakedown calls, threatening to hide negative reviews if businesses pay up for advertising, and promising to hide positive ones if they do. A Toronto restaurant is just the latest business to make such claims, and took the allegations to that city’s subreddit. Only there’s no real proof. [More]

(Photo: Yelp user Maki K.)

Amazingly, Diners Didn’t Want To Eat At Toilet-Themed Restaurant

A restaurant whose entire bathroom-related theme — complete with toilets as seats, dishes with hilariously fecal names, and miniature toilet-shaped bowls for your food — seems to have been cooked up by a potty-obsessed two-year-old has closed down after an eight-month run, suggesting that most people would rather put foods in their mouths without thinking about how that food will ultimately exit their bodies. [More]

Is It Wrong For A Restaurant To Tell Diners To Remove Google Glass?

Is It Wrong For A Restaurant To Tell Diners To Remove Google Glass?

The culture war (more of a slap-fight) over where and when it’s okay to sport Google Glass continues. A Manhattan restaurant is the latest to get caught up in the fracas after it asked a customer to remove her Glass device while dining, resulting in a burst of negative reviews from those who think the eatery crossed a line… and a backlash from those who aren’t impressed with the headgear and don’t see why anyone would wear one to dinner. [More]

(jdong)

Can Yelp Track Foodborne Illness Outbreaks In Restaurants?

People tend to under-report food poisoning: generally, we don’t visit the doctor for a small digestive disturbance or report our illness to the local health department unless it happens to be part of a widely-publicized outbreak. What if there were another way to learn about these outbreaks, though? What if health departments could use Yelp? [More]

Because the world needs more hastily uploaded videos with strange aspect ratios, Yelp will soon be rolling out videos for reviews.

Yelp Adding Videos To Reviews To Put A Face To “Worst Falafel Ever” Rants

When you’re looking for a restaurant — or a dry cleaner, or plumber, or prison — and checking out Yelp on your mobile device, you’ve surely said to yourself, “If only I could watch video of this Yelper’s completely reasoned and not at all reactionary 1-star review!” Well, you’re wish may be granted with the news that the crowdsourced review site is adding video reviews to its mobile apps. [More]