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U.S. court orders anonymous critics be identified

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 13 Jan 2014 9:37 User comments (8)

U.S. court orders anonymous critics be identified A U.S. court has found that users who posted anonymous negative reviews of a carpet cleaning business should be identified.
The users posted negative reviews about Hadeed Carpet Cleaning - owned by complainant Joe Hadeed - to the Yelp service, which enables consumers to post reviews of local businesses and counts 47 million reviews over the past decade.

Mr Hadeed argues that seven negative reviewers had never used his service, and so their anonymity should not be protected. The Virginia court found that Hadeen provided sufficient reason for it to think that the reviewers may never have used the carpet-cleaning service.

"Generally, a Yelp review is entitled to First Amendment protection because it is a person's opinion about a business that they patronised," the Judge said in a statement, reports the BBC.

"If the reviewer was never a customer of the business, then the review is not an opinion; instead the review is based on a false statement."

If the review is based on a false statement, then the reviewer is not protected by the First Amendment, according to the Judge.

Yelp strongly disagrees with the court's ruling. "We are disappointed that the Virginia Court of Appeals has issued a ruling that fails to adequately protect free speech rights on the internet, and which allows businesses to seek personal details about website users -- without any evidence of wrongdoing -- in efforts to silence online critics," said Vince Sollitto, a spokesman for Yelp.

Tags: Yelp
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8 user comments

113.1.2014 11:06

I'm all for anonymity but I think in this case they should wave it to an extent. I don't think they should be outed to Hadeed until they have had the opportunity to provide prove they actually used the service. Otherwise I'd out them and would love to see them sued at the least.


Just my $0.02,

dEwMe

213.1.2014 12:45

and did mr hadeen know who this reviewers were through legal or illegal ways.

lets make all people that do a bad review details public,lets send business owners (or paid thugs ) to attack them.let remove all the negative feedback.


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313.1.2014 14:44

I think if you're gonna leave bad reviews you should have to prove to someone you actually bought the service or item. Heck maybe positive too....OR why not have the review sites have a big disclaimer that no review good or bad has been verified. Anybody going to these review sites should take them with a very big grain of salt.


Just my $0.02,

dEwMe

413.1.2014 16:16

Bad reviews are made usually by the competition.
Big Corporations pay for to remove or cover-up their dirty laundry.

People should use links to prove their bad business. Since it affect all of us.


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513.1.2014 16:59

Originally posted by dEwMe:
I think if you're gonna leave bad reviews you should have to prove to someone you actually bought the service or item. Heck maybe positive too....OR why not have the review sites have a big disclaimer that no review good or bad has been verified. Anybody going to these review sites should take them with a very big grain of salt.

Exactly this. All reviews whether from an anonymous person on the internet or a professional with an arms list of degrees and certification should be looked at and decided upon based on your own opinions. There are many "experts" that I wouldn't trust to make impartial decisions, at least anonymous reviewers have less incentive to write reviews for profit. Forcing yelp to give over these names is just another example of our rights being taken without a second thought.

613.1.2014 17:03

Yelp was developed solely for the purpose of blackmailing business owners. Here is how those edited by ddp operate: They are the ones who actually write the bad review, then they call the business and explain that someone has written a bad review but they will be happy to remove it for a fee. The group of employees they hired to write this edited by ddp are called super users. They hired about 80,000 super users in 2006, taking their registered user users from 12,000 people to 100,000 immediately. Yelp is just a big online mafia using strong arm techniques to steal money from small businesses.

In closing, edited by ddp Yelp

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Jan 2014 @ 21:12

717.1.2014 8:03

Originally posted by seths:
Yelp was developed solely for the purpose of blackmailing business owners. Here is how those edited by ddp operate: They are the ones who actually write the bad review, then they call the business and explain that someone has written a bad review but they will be happy to remove it for a fee. The group of employees they hired to write this edited by ddp are called super users. They hired about 80,000 super users in 2006, taking their registered user users from 12,000 people to 100,000 immediately. Yelp is just a big online mafia using strong arm techniques to steal money from small businesses.

In closing, edited by ddp Yelp
So what you are saying is that you have been blackmailed by yelp?

This is superman

827.1.2014 21:31

Originally posted by adre02:
Originally posted by seths:
Yelp was developed solely for the purpose of blackmailing business owners. Here is how those edited by ddp operate: They are the ones who actually write the bad review, then they call the business and explain that someone has written a bad review but they will be happy to remove it for a fee. The group of employees they hired to write this edited by ddp are called super users. They hired about 80,000 super users in 2006, taking their registered user users from 12,000 people to 100,000 immediately. Yelp is just a big online mafia using strong arm techniques to steal money from small businesses.

In closing, edited by ddp Yelp
So what you are saying is that you have been blackmailed by yelp?
Well they aren't completely wrong about yelp. Yelp does allow businesses to pay for the removal of bad reviews. I doubt yelp actually needs to write the bad reviews (fake or real) themselves but if they did I believe it would qualify as extortion and have some serious legal ramifications.

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