Quoted – Yelp.com: Extortion or free speech? Lawsuits mount

Image representing Yelp as depicted in CrunchBase
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Yelp.com: Extortion or free speech? Lawsuits mount

You would expect nothing more, or less, from the Web.As merchants line up to join the lawsuit against Yelp for allegedly downgrading their ratings when they did not advertise, the debate over the import and impact of online reviews has never been more heated. From other online sites touting their more pristine approaches, to merchants insisting that negative reviews can only help — honest! — perspectives are as diverse as opinions expressed in the online reviews themselves.

You would expect nothing more, or less, from the Web.

So who can a consumer trust? Surveys consistently show that word of mouth trumps all other sources of information and increasingly a seemingly average Joe review on the Web qualifies as word of mouth. Scott Testa, a technology consultant and business professor at Cabrini College near Philadelphia, said that while the Yelp suit may open the floodgates to criticism of criticism, the best bet for consumers is to read widely and with skepticism.


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