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]

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]

Why Didn’t Dept. Of Education Find Problems With Loan Servicer Fined $100M?

Why Didn’t Dept. Of Education Find Problems With Loan Servicer Fined $100M?

Last May, investigations by the Department of Justice and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation into student loans servicing resulted in a $100 million fine against government-contracted servicer Navient for allegedly violating federal laws limiting the amount of interest that can be charged on servicemember student loans. Following those investigations, the Department of Education undertook a review that found its four servicers – including Navient – weren’t cheating military personnel. With such conflicting reports, members of Congress are now getting involved, calling for an investigation into the Dept. of Education’s review process. [More]

In spite of her assertions to the contrary, Amazon insists that Imy is a personal friend of an author whose book she tried to review, but the site won't disclose how it came to this conclusion.

Amazon Is Data Mining Reviewers’ Personal Relationships

Any Amazon customer is likely aware that the e-tail giant knows a lot about them. That’s how it personalizes product suggestions and customizes the marketing e-mails it sends. But some Amazon users are now finding out that the site knows — or at least it thinks it knows — who your friends are, and is restricting their reviews accordingly. [More]

Amazon Tweaks Review System To Crack Down On Fakes, Highlight The Most Helpful Entries

Amazon Tweaks Review System To Crack Down On Fakes, Highlight The Most Helpful Entries

Amazon is taking its recent crackdown on fraudulent reviews a step further by implementing a system to ensure customers see the most authentic – and helpful – reviews of a product first. [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]

(Louis Abate)

Amazon Files First Lawsuit To Block Companies From Selling Fraudulent Positive Reviews

For the first time in the 20 years that Amazon has allowed users to review products, the company is taking legal action against businesses it claims sells fake reviews to third-party sellers. [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]

3 Reasons Why Video Game Review Embargoes Are Particularly Anti-Consumer

3 Reasons Why Video Game Review Embargoes Are Particularly Anti-Consumer

One of the perks of my former life in the entertainment news business was getting early access to everything from books to movies to music to video games. On the down side, that early access often comes with the stipulation that you can’t say anything about what you’ve seen, read, played, or heard until the publisher says so. It’s an annoyance for all reviewers, especially when they want to tell the public that something is so bad they should stay away, but it’s particularly harmful in the video game business. [More]

Readers’ Reviews Of Papa John’s Fritos Chili Pizza Mixed, Mostly Bad

Readers’ Reviews Of Papa John’s Fritos Chili Pizza Mixed, Mostly Bad

Last week, we shared the somewhat terrifying news that Papa John’s is marketing a pizza topped with Fritos and chili. Yes, the snack chip Fritos. Yes, on a pizza. Yes, on a Papa John’s pizza. We asked whether any of you out in Consumerland had tried it, and some of you were brave enough to. [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]

How Does A Negative Amazon Review Result In Threats Of A Lawsuit?

From the legal letter T. posted on Reddit earlier this week.

UPDATE: While neither Medialink nor its lawyer have responded to our request for comment on this story, the company has posted a lengthy note on its Facebook page in which explains the motives behind the cease-and-desist letter and says that its Amazon seller account has been suspended. [More]

Reader Review: Mountain Dew Cheetos “Not At All Unpleasant”

Reader Review: Mountain Dew Cheetos “Not At All Unpleasant”

Reader Aaron was intrigued. He likes both Mountain Dew and Cheetos, and learned from our site that an unholy hybrid of these two products was now available in snack food form in Japan. He knew what he had to do: order them and eat them. [More]

What If Yelp Had Halloween Trick-Or-Treat Reviews?

What If Yelp Had Halloween Trick-Or-Treat Reviews?

First of all, let me just say that it’s a darn good thing we don’t live in a world where houses are subject to Yelp reviews for Trick-Or-Treating purposes (yet). But it’s still pretty funny to think about all the possibilities for hilarious, cranky and otherwise informative reviews if that were the reality. [More]

Not the CF in question. (SA_Steve)

It’s About Time Someone Reviewed Cleveland-Area Cheesecake Factory

You show me someone who’s been to all 170 Cheesecake Factory restaurants and I’ll show you a liar. That being said, while we don’t have eyewitness proof to the contrary, they can’t all be that different, right? Regardless of whether one Cheesecake Factory is like visiting any other Cheesecake Factory, it’s still quite interesting that a Cleveland news site felt the need to publish a review of an area Cheesecake Factory location. Yes, I did just fit Cheesecake Factory in three times in one sentence. [More]

Your Review Isn’t Really About The Product? Don’t Whine When It’s Rejected

([RAWRZ!])

We often receive complaints from readers who have totally legitimate gripes about shipping or customer service issues at retailers, both online and in real life. Unfortunately, they chose to share these complaints with the world by writing about them in the retailer’s product reviews. The problem with this plan is that companies control which reviews are and aren’t posted. If they don’t post yours, it’s not because they hate free speech: it’s because you didn’t follow the directions. [More]

Now we know.

Someone Is Probably Working On A Coffee Table Book Of Hilarious Amazon Reviews, Right?

We’ve read our fair share of hilarious reviews for products that practically beg to become comedic fodder — remember the Bic Cristal for Her pen? It’s often those same reviews that make once irrelevant products relevant again, or at least bring to light the very many things for sale out there that make us wonder why anyone bothered selling them in the first place. [More]

( jennymcb)

Should You Take Back That GPS You Got For Christmas?

You might have ripped the wrapping paper off a shiny new GPS unit earlier this week, but should you keep it? A well-meaning loved one might have bought you a new one this week, but that doesn’t mean that they chose the best one for your needs or that you should keep it. How do you know whether the unit you have is the best for you? If only there were an entity out there that tested different models side-by-side and published the results…Oh, right, that would be our elder sister publication, Consumer Reports! [More]