Yelp is one of the most popular sites on the internet for when it comes to searching for reviews and finding local restaurants and businesses in your area. The problem with review sites like Yelp is that any negative reviews posted on the site can really go a long way in ruining your reputation, and it’s extremely easy for anyone to create an account and post whatever they want.
Writing Fake Reviews on Yelp? You Might Get Sued!
ABC News has just reported that Yelp is now suing one of the users of their site after accusing them of posting fake reviews to their site. We’ve listed the highlights of this article and process throughout the post for easier reading.
Julian McMillan, who owns McMillan Law Group in San Diego, was served with the lawsuit last week. The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco last month, claims firm employees “pretend to be clients and review their own employer on Yelp.” The lawsuit names employees who have provided positive reviews on the McMillan Law Group Yelp page.
One of these reviews, as described in the lawsuit, states: “The entire firm staff was very helpful. I never felt uncomfortable asking questions throughout the process, and the staff was very informative. I was kept in the loop throughout my filing. I certainly recommend McMillan Law Group for a quick, efficient and pain-free bankruptcy experience. I am now back on my feet again financially thanks to the firm.”
So what does this mean for your business, especially if you have an existing business listing on their site?
First of all, as much as you would like to have positive reviews on your site, stay away from any fake review services or posting fake reviews of your own. The last thing you want to do is jeopardize the legitimacy and reputation of your business by trying to look just a little bit better. This will also keep you out of harms way when it comes to Yelp suing their users for any fraudulent activity.
However there is a lot more to this case than just McMillan and his reviews on Yelp. It was also brought to light in the article that McMillan has sued Yelp in the past and now this counter lawsuit is just in retaliation.
“They’re an Internet bully and they abused their dominant Internet position for advertising contracts,” he said. “Here they are trying to squash my freedom of speech in small claims court, which awarded me back $2,700 for my advertising contract.”
It’s also important to note that this isn’t the first time Yelp has tried to sue someone over fake reviews.
This is Yelp’s second complaint it filed against a business related to deceptive reviews. Yelp sued BuyYelpReview.com, a company that was selling fake reviews to businesses in an attempt to help them suppress their bad reviews, the Yelp spokeswoman said.
With millions of users and reviews already active and live on Yelp, it’s surprising that this is only the second time the issue has come up. There is no doubt that some of the reviews on Yelp are negative, simply because there are so many businesses and reviews listed. The question is, how can you keep your company listing safe from your competition posting negative reviews for your business, while also keeping your online reputation in tact?
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