(Sybren Stüvel)

Don’t Lie About Paying For Online Reviews. It’s Against The Law

In this era of social media and crowdsourced reviews, businesses with happy customers do what they can to publicize positive feedback. But if a company compensates customers for reviews and fails to disclose that tit-for-tat relationship, it’s illegal and deceptive marketing. [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]

TripAdvisor Fined $612K In Italy For Not Doing Enough To Block Fake Reviews

TripAdvisor Fined $612K In Italy For Not Doing Enough To Block Fake Reviews

Many consumers look at crowdsourced reviews on TripAdvisor or Yelp and understand there is a possibility that a review could be bogus. Sites like these generally have methods for detecting and blocking fake write-ups, but regulators in Italy say that TripAdvisor isn’t doing enough to stop the faux reviews and has to pay up or enact stricter policies. [More]

Yet Another Court To Hear Yelp’s Argument Against Revealing Reviewers’ Names

(colonelchi)

For more than two years, a carpet cleaning company in Virginia has been trying to compel Yelp to turn over the identities of reviewers the company accuses of posting false and defamatory information. While both a trial court and a state appeals court have told Yelp to fork over that info, the crowdsourced reviews site has not yet done so — and tomorrow it takes its case before the highest court in Virginia. [More]

More Info From Yelper Who Says He Was Threatened Over Negative Review

More Info From Yelper Who Says He Was Threatened Over Negative Review

Earlier today, we told you about the apparent dispute between a Cleveland consumer and the chef/owner of a local restaurant who allegedly reacted to the customer’s negative Yelp review with a series of nasty, threatening messages on Facebook. Now that diner has reached out to Consumerist to share more of his side of the story. [More]

One of the messages sent via Facebook from the chef to a customer who left a one-star review on Yelp. That review has since been deleted by Yelp, even though the chef stated that he no longer had a problem with it.

Yelper Claims Chef Responded To Negative Review With Threats, Racially Charged Messages

UPDATE: The customer involved in this dispute has reached out to Consumerist with more details on his side of the story. [More]

Proposed Law Would Ban Penalties For Negative Online Reviews

Proposed Law Would Ban Penalties For Negative Online Reviews

Days after California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new state law outlawing the practice of using non-disparagement clauses to penalize consumers who complain about business transactions, a few members of the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced a similar piece of legislation that would ban this questionable practice in all states. [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]

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]

KlearGear.com Ordered To Pay $306K To Couple Who Wrote Negative Review

KlearGear.com Ordered To Pay $306K To Couple Who Wrote Negative Review

The saga of the harmless little negative online review that resulted in a $3,500 “Non-Disparagement Fee” continues, with a Utah court ordering the owners of KlearGear.com to pay damages of $306,750 to the couple who wrote that review. But whether the company will ever pay up is another story. [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]

Hotel Files $74,500 Defamation Suit Against Anonymous TripAdvisor Reviewer

Hotel Files $74,500 Defamation Suit Against Anonymous TripAdvisor Reviewer

The relative anonymity of online review sites makes it tempting to vent one’s anger toward a company in an over-the-top way, but does the use of a screen name prevent you from being held liable for making knowingly false claims? One hotel in Oregon says no, and is suing an unknown TripAdvisor reviewer to prove that point. [More]

3 Tips To Writing A Yelp Restaurant Review That Is Worth A Read

3 Tips To Writing A Yelp Restaurant Review That Is Worth A Read

As helpful as crowdsourced review sites like Yelp can be, not every write-up is of use to a consumer trying to figure out whether a restaurant is worth the trip. Sometimes it’s because the review is too vague (“The menu wasn’t amazing” is one I come across too often). Other times it’s too specific (“The napkins didn’t match the table cloths! Never going back!”). And many reviewers tend to let their emotions get the best of them, giving slightly subpar meals a single star or throwing a restaurant a 5-star rating without really thinking about what that score implies. [More]

Debt Collection Company Actually Admits It Did The Wrong Thing After Bad Online Review

Debt Collection Company Actually Admits It Did The Wrong Thing After Bad Online Review

Does anyone currently see any pigs fluttering past the window? Or maybe there’s a new ice skating rink in hell? Because a debt collection company has actually admitted it was wrong. Specifically, the company that owned the supposed $3,500 debt a businesses levied against a customer who posted a negative review about an online shopping experience. [More]

EA Doesn’t Really Want People Sharing Negative Game Reviews Where Someone Might Read Them

EA Doesn’t Really Want People Sharing Negative Game Reviews Where Someone Might Read Them

It’s almost time to start thinking about this year’s Worst Company In America tournament, which can mean only one thing — two-time reigning WCIA champ Electronic Arts is once again making a final push to be hated by its own customers. This time, the video game giant has been caught apparently trying to game the Google Play review and ratings system. [More]

How Not To Have The Worst Hotel Stay Ever – Look For Fake Online Reviews

How Not To Have The Worst Hotel Stay Ever – Look For Fake Online Reviews

So, you’re planning a much-needed vacation to a beautiful destination, but you don’t know any of the hotels in the area. You do like most consumers and turn to online review sites like TripAdvisor or Expedia. But are these hotel sites really trustworthy? [More]

(Ben Balter)

This Will Be Fun: $3,500 Fine For Bad Online Review Is Going To Court

The saga of the couple fined $3500 for writing a negative review of a company back in 2008 continues and now, it’s going to court. [More]

(KUTV.com)

Customer Writes Negative Review After Never Receiving Order, Site Fines Her $3.5K

UPDATE 11/18: We’ve been in touch with Jen after numerous readers reached out to Consumerist saying they wanted to help with her case. She’s going to keep us in the loop about her situation, but wanted share a message with those who’ve been supporting her and her husband. “If you could just convey to everyone how much we deeply appreciate all the support the internet has generated, that would be wonderful,” Jen writes. Our readers are the best. [More]