Business

Is Yelp A Fair Way To Judge A Business?

By Jolene Cleaver
Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Some small business owners are concerned that Yelp and similar websites can do real damage to their businesses. Many complaints are about unfair reviews from users, but at least one small business believes Yelp’s own policies are the problem.

Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y.

The internet and social media have long proved to be important tools when it comes to promoting a small business, but sometimes, they also can have the opposite effect.

Over the last few years, online review platforms such as Yelp.com have occassionally made headlines due to complaints from business owners and others that certain reviews are overly negative, fake or unfairly ranked to make poor reviews more prominent.

In a few cases, these complaints have led to court cases.

In July, the Associated Press reported on a California Supreme Court that found that Yelp could not be ordered to remove posts against a San Francisco law firm that another lower court judge originally had determined were defamatory.

In a divided 4-3 opinion, the higher court ruled removal orders obtained against Yelp “could interfere with and undermine the viability of an online platform.”

Some local business owners, however, are more worried that Yelp and similar websites could interfere with and undermine their livelihoods. And while many complaints are about unfair reviews from users, at least one local business believes Yelp’s own policies are the problem.

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