Bogus Online Reviews face EU Ban
Pincet Masons international law firm, out-law.com, 2/15/07
Trade Association Proposed to Represent Ratings Websites
Sarah Colombo, USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review, 5/10/2007
Opinion Poll Shows 8 out of 10 US Shoppers Put More Trust in Brands that Offer Customer Reviews
Bazaarvoice Inc, 7/23/07
Online Reviews Influence Purchasing Decisions
Deloitte Consumer Products Group, 10/01/07
Online Consumer-Generated Reviews Have Significant Impact on Offline Purchase Behavior
comScore Inc, 11/29/07
A study conducted by comScore and The Kelsey Group reveals that consumers will pay significantly more for local services that have positive ratings online.
User Ratings Top Consumers' Online Wish Lists
Kerry Bodine, Ross Popoff-Walker, Forrester Research, 2/06/08
Consumers Turn to Online Ratings and Reviews, as Sites Respond to Concerns
Rating and Review Professional Association, 2/28/08
As online ratings become more important to the success of products and services, critics charge that online rating systems are unfair. To address criticisms, operators of more than a dozen rating and review websites have banded together into a new organization, the Rating and Review Professional Association. The new group will educate businesses, consumers and the press about the online review business, and encourage best practices among its members.
ApartmentRatings.com Among Top 50 Real Estate Sites
International Listings, 3/4/08
Experts See Dim Future For Laws Against Anonymous Comments
Wendy Davis, Media Post, 3/14/08
Consumer Complaint Site Defeats Lawsuit By Unhappy Vendor
Eric Goldman, Technology & Marketing Law Blog, 6/25/08
Car Dealer Can't Sue Ratings Website for Defamation
Lawyers USA, 8/11/08
Venture Firm Subpoenas Records from Review Site
Matt Marshall, Venture Beat, 8/12/08
Google Denied Attorney's Fees in Section 230 Dismissal
Eric Goldman, Technology & Marketing Law Blog, 8/12/08
Wikipedia Defamation Lawsuit Dismissed under Section 230
John Timmer, ArsTechnica, 8/13/08
Bay Area newspaper Accuses Yelp of Accepting Payoffs
Kathleen Richards, East Bay Express, 2/18/09
Consumers Rely on Ratings, Reviews and Recommendations During Recession
eMarketingandCommerce.com (eM+C), 2/26/09
Doctors attempt to Gag Patient's Ratings
Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press, 3/3/09
A North Carolina consulting firm is providing doctors with a standardized waiver agreement. Patients who sign agree not to post online comments about the doctor, "his expertise and/or treatment."
John Swapceinski, co-founder of RateMDs.com, said that in recent months, six doctors have asked him to remove negative online comments based on patients' signed waivers. He has refused.
"They're basically forcing the patients to choose between health care and their First Amendment rights, and I really find that repulsive," Swapceinski said.
Lawyers try to Prevent avvo.com from using Public Information
Kim Hart, Washington Post, 3/9/09
Chicago Businesses add to Yelp Allegations
Monica Eng, Chicago Tribune, 3/9/09
MySpace adds Business Ratings
Evan Hessel, Forbes, 3/31/09
Yelp will allow Businesses to Respond to Ratings
Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times, 4/11/09
Surprise! Physicians Criticize Doctor Ratings Sites
As more and more people are turning to online review sites, doctors are increasingly critical of the sites' accuracy and usefulness.
(See related News - Doctors Attempt to Gag Patient's Ratings)
'Lifestyle Lift' Settles Case of Fake Reviews
Claire Cain Miller, New York Times, 7/14/09
TripAdvisor posts Warnings of Hotels Posting Fake Reviews
Melissa Trujillo, Associated Press, July 15, 2009
Reviews on Websites Increase Traffic, Trust and Sales
Helen Leggatt, BizReport, 11/23/09
Rating Sites Expose Medical Gag Orders
JoNel Aleccia, MSNBC, 1/13/10
New class action lawsuit targets Yelp
Caroline McCarthy, CNET, 2/24/10
The suit claims the Yelp is running a virtual extortion scheme in which Yelp sales reps solicite payments form businesses to hide or remove negative reviews. Similar charges were made against Yelp in February of 2009 by a Bay Area newspaper.
Professor Rating Site a Staple Among Students
Laura Beth Calcote, The Vanguard, 3/8/10
Survey shows that more than 75% of students use the vintage rating sate RateMyProfessors.com, first launched in 1999.
Business Owners Realize Online Reviews can Make or Break Them
Online review communities now have a dramatic impact on the success of a business.
Yelp Changes Procedures in Wake of Lawsuit
Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times, 4/6/10
Stung by criticisms, and what some small business owners categorized as extortion, Yelp has implemented several changes in their procedures to increase transparency.
Leading Historian posts Malicious Reviews
BBC News, 4/24/10
Orlando Figes, a professor at London's Birkbeck College, has admitted posting a string of positive reviews of his own work, and negative reviews of other author's books. The Figes incident illustrates one of the dangers of online reviews. Many online review sites use a variety of filters to attempt to screen out ratings spam.
Scammer Uses Bad Reviews to Improve Search Placement
David Segal, New York Times, 11/26/10
DecorMyEyes.com has horrible reviews on many sites... but the operator says he doesn't mind. The many bad reviews, which contain links to the site, actually improve the site's placement in search engines. (Since this story was published, Google announced that it has adjusted its algorithm so companies that perform poor customer service will be penalized in search results.)
December 7, 2010: A follow up article indicated that site operator Vitaly Borker has been arrested by federal agents, and charged with fraud, cyberstalking and interstate threats.
Toronto Police fear Abuse on New Rating Site
Kenyon Wallace, National Post, 12/11/10
Toronto police are concerned that a new site, JudgeMyCop.ca, will incite abuse toward police officers. The Toronto Police Association is monitoring the site to insure that it does not cross the line and become a legal issue.
Websites in Canada, unlike their US counterparts, are not protected from iiability for user contributed content. (See Legal Information for Rating and Review Sites.)
Internet Marketer Advises Businesses on Using Online Rating Sites
Jon Schepke, Search Engine Watch, 2/25/2011
Marketing expert says 55 percent of U.S. consumers trust a local business more after reading positive online reviews. One of the most cost-effective means for small business owners to attract new business is simply encouraging customers to submit online reviews.
Yelp Shares Advice on Responding to Critics
Yelp Web Log, 3/16/11
Yelp business outreach manager addresses business owners' complaints of bad reveiws with practical advice on how to respond.
New Site Exposes Doctors' Attempts to Suppress Online Reviews
Eric Goldman, Technology & Marketing Law Blog, 4/13/11
“This practice poses a grave threat to the integrity of online consumer reviews,” said Eric Goldman, director of Santa Clara University’s High Tech Law Institute and a former general counsel to Epinions.com.
Yelp Survey says Yellow Pages No Longer Relevant
Yelp, May 3, 2011
In a survey of small business owners conducted by Yelp, only 24% of respondents said that the Yellow Pages are still relevant to their business.
Three out of four business owners do not use the Yellow Pages at all.
90% of the respondents said that the Yellow Pages account for less than 25% of their sales leads.
Medical Justice posts Bogus Reviews on RateMDs.com!
John Swapceinski, RateMDs.com, 5/24/11
RateMDs co-founder John Swapceinski has revealed solid evidence that Medical Justice has been posting glowing reviews for dozens of doctors. Medical Justice has recently come under strong criticism for their attempts to limit patients' rights to post reviews of their doctors. (See http://www.ecotarget.com/health/doctors-try-to-silence-patients)
SPEECH Act Provides Additional Protections for US Review Sites
Rating and review sites operating in the United States have strong protections against libel suits under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
However, it's possible for plaintiffs in other countries to sue US site operators under much stiffer libel laws in their own countries. If the plaintiff wins the suit, under their local laws, they can then file a request in a US court to enforce the judgement. This allows plaintiffs in other countries to do an end run around US laws.
However, in 2010 the US Congress passed the SPEECH (Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage) Act. The new law essentially prohibits US courts from enforcing libel judgements unless the charges also meet US standards for libel.
It also adds a cause of action allowing US companies to counter-sue the non-US plaintiffs.
Attorney Threatens LawyerRatingz.com; EFF Responds
David Kravets, Wired, 2/24/12
Florida attorney Adrian Philip Thomas has threatened legal action against online review site LawyerRatingz.com over negative reviews that appears on the site.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has responded by filing a suit in federal court to block the threats, and to declare the website immune from any threatened legal action on the matter.
Read more in the EFF Press Release: www.eff.org/press/releases/eff-files-suit-block-threats-aimed-lawyer-ratings-site
Yelp Criticized for Removing Legitimate Reviews
Justin Vincent, 4/24/12
Well-known technology blogger and Podcaster Justin Vincent explains how Yelp algorithms remove legitimate reviews, while allowing phoney reviews from reputation management companies.
Attorney and Wife Awarded $13.7 million in Online Libel Suit
David Lee, Courthouse News Service, 4/27/12
Jurors awarded Mark and Rhonda Lesher $13.7 million in a libel complaint against several online posters.
The libelous comments were posted anonymously on the Topix online forums. Topix was served with a subpoena to obtain informaiton used to identify the posters, but the company itself was not named in the lawsuit.
Doctors Fear Online Ratings, but Most Reviews are Positive
Michelle Andrews, The Washington Post, 7/2/12
Many doctors are adamantly opposed to online ratings (see Doctors Try to Silence Patients), but a recent study by Guodong Gordon Gao and colleagues at the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems shows that their fears may be misplaced.
The study showed that:
These factors indicate that online ratings may actually be an indicator of physician quality.
Gartner Predicts Wdiespread Fake Reviews by 2014
Barb Darrow, GigaOm, 9/17/12
Gartner Research predicts that within two years, 10-15% of all online reviews will be paid for by companies.
Study Finds Doctors Sceptical of Online Ratings
Andis Robeznieks, Modern Physician, 1/16/13
In a survey conducted by the American College of Physician Executives, only 12% of doctors felt that online reviews are useful - although 69% report checking their own ratings.
CDA 230 Success Cases: The Ratingz Network
Adi Kamdar, Electronic Frontier Foundation, 1/28/13
As part of a contuing series of articles on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the EFF's Adi Kamdar inteviews John Swapceinski, co-founder of the Ratingz Network.