Great Beyond

Yelp, TripAdvisor Not Happy With Google’s New Critics’ Review Search Results

TripAdvisor and Yelp, two of the biggest names in crowdsourced reviews, say that Google is using its position as the dominant online search engine to push Google-backed reviews ahead of links to review sites. [More]

kevindean

TripAdvisor Now Lets Travelers Bemoan, Praise Airlines Through Ratings & Reviews

For years, travelers have been able to review, book, and rate most aspects of their trips on TripAdvisor – everything but their flight. That’s about to change, now that the company has opened the floodgates of praise and ridicule by allowing passengers to rate their carrier of choice.  [More]

Fujoshi Bijou

Some Health Providers Are Sharing Patients’ Info Online In Reaction To Bad Yelp Reviews

Now that we live in a world where it seems everything can be rated — from your restaurant experience to your root canal — privacy issues are popping up in unexpected places. Like in health care providers’ responses to negative reviews from patients on Yelp, for example.

[More]

FDA Bans Sale Of E-Cigarettes To Minors; Requires Health Warnings

FDA Bans Sale Of E-Cigarettes To Minors; Requires Health Warnings

After a prolonged, seven-year process of drafting regulations for e-cigarettes, the Food and Drug Administration has finalized rules that treat e-cigs, hookah tobacco, pipe tobacco, and premium cigars the same as traditional cigarettes and cigars. [More]

Alan Rappa

Amazon Sues Five Sites Promising Reviews For Cash

Since filing its first lawsuit to block companies from selling fraudulent positive reviews last April, Amazon has taken a number of steps to cutback on the number of fake review peppering its site: data mining reviewers’ personal relationships, tweaking how reviews appear on product pages, and suing more than 1,100 individual reviewers who sell their kind words. Now the e-commerce giant has sued five additional sites, accusing them of selling sham reviews. [More]

Bar Replies To Customer’s New Year’s Eve Complaint Of Being Ignored While Fellow Patron Has Heart Attack

Bar Replies To Customer’s New Year’s Eve Complaint Of Being Ignored While Fellow Patron Has Heart Attack

Often when we hear about a business’ response to a customer complaint spreading furiously on social media, it’s because people are shocked by the company’s response or because someone who works there was perhaps inappropriate in their reply. But when the manager of an Indianapolis bar replied on Facebook to a patron who slammed the establishment for ignoring her party’s questions about the bill to deal with an “overdosed junkie” — in reality, an elderly woman who had a heart attack — the Internet seemed quite pleased. [More]

Facebook Taking On Yelp, Angie’s List To Provide Users With Highly-Rated Professional Services

Facebook Taking On Yelp, Angie’s List To Provide Users With Highly-Rated Professional Services

Finding a reliable service provider can be a test of patience for some consumers, despite sites like Angie’s List and Yelp that aim to connect customers with local professionals focused on repairs, installations, or other jobs around the house. Facebook thinks it has what it takes to make the quest for a dependable handyman, lawn care service, plumber, and other local businesses with its new “Professional Services” feature.  [More]

Angie's List

Angie Of Angie’s List Defends Policy Of Removing Negative Reviews If Customers Get Refunds

If a company offers you a refund after you post a negative online review of your transaction, does that make your original comment any less valid? According to Angie Hicks of crowdsourced review site Angie’s List, once your dispute with a company is resolved, you should only be allowed to say nice things about the company. [More]

(Paula S)

Restaurant Critic Rails Against “Stupid And Broken” Star-Rating System

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]

Amazon Sues 1,114 Individual Reviewers For Hire

Amazon Sues 1,114 Individual Reviewers For Hire

Earlier this year, Amazon did something that it had never tried before: it sued four websites peddling reviews to sellers on their site. Today, they’ve filed a new lawsuit [PDF] against people selling their services as reviewers through the site Fiverr. That means that the suit has 1,114 unnamed defendants. [More]

Home Depot Website Glitch Provides Two Ratings For Some Products

Home Depot Website Glitch Provides Two Ratings For Some Products

While researching products on a retailer’s website, other customers’ reviews and ratings of those items can be helpful. But a glitch in Home Depot’s rating presentation system has caused a bit of confusion: the product page shows two different ratings for some products. [More]

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]