(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]

(catheroo)

Dentist Who Claimed Copyright Over Patient’s Yelp Review Must Pay $4,766 In Damages

Way back in 2011, we told you about a dental patient who said his dentist had gone too far with a “privacy agreement” that preempted patients from publicly complaining about the doctor and claimed copyright on patients’ reviews. After nearly four years of legal wrangling, the dentist has finally been ordered to pay the patient nearly $5,000 in damages, though he may never get it. [More]

Just a bit of the harsh critique that ownership left for its former servers and kitchen staff.

Shuttered Restaurant Lashes Out At Former “Incompetent” Staff In Yelp Farewell

Yelp is usually a place for restaurant diners to vent about bad service and food — and occasionally for restaurants to start ill-advised social media wars with those who complain. But it’s rarely the place for a restaurant to publicly point the finger at its own employees. [More]

Ridiculous Copyright Claim Seeks Takedown Of Skype, Java, Whatsapp, Dropbox & 91 Others

The Google Transparency Report shows the sheer volume of DMCA requests made by Total Wipes in just the last few months.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act allows content companies to ask Google and others to remove sites from search results because they contain material that infringes on their copyright. But one music company has been on a tear recently, sending DMCA notices claiming that everything from news stories about file-sharing to the generic “downloads” pages of some of the Internet’s biggest sites are violating its copyright. [More]

The defendants' website promises that only 4- and 5-star reviews will be posted online while reviews of 3-star or worse will be sent to a "Control Center."

Yelp Sues Websites Promising “All Positive Reviews” For Businesses

While Yelp may be within its legal rights to re-order and filter its user-submitted reviews, the company is taking legal action against the operator of multiple websites promising “all positive reviews for your business.” [More]

(jdong)

Yelp Enters Delivery Realm With $134M Purchase Of Eat24

Not only can you make reservations at thousands of restaurants through Yelp, soon you’ll be able to order delivery. The latest expansion for the review site comes after it agreed to purchase delivery site Eat24 for $134 million. [More]