Earlier this month, in a hurried legislative process, North Carolina lawmakers passed HB2, a bill that overrides and prevents local governments from establishing anti-discrimination rules against gay and transgender people. This morning, advocacy groups delivered a letter to NC Gov. Pat McCrory signed by top executives from more than 100 companies, all calling for the state to repeal the law. [More]
The technological powers that be understand that people often don’t want to click around in more apps or programs than they have to. In a move meant for caffeine lovers on the job, one of Microsoft’s newest add-ins for its Office programs lets Starbucks customers do things like schedule meetings at the local coffee shop and buy gift cards for the store as well from within Outlook. [More]
So you hired a pet sitter to take care of your companions while you were out of town, but you weren’t happy with the service you received. You’re free to go online and publicly share your thoughts about that experience, as long as what you write is truthful. But you still might be sued by that pet sitter if your contract included a clause forbidding you from posting anything negative about the company. [More]
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.
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 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]
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.
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]
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]
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 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]
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.
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.
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]
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]