Be Careful of What You Believe in Online Critics


Yelp, a social networking site, that has become very popular with both businesses and users, had an average of approximately 132 million monthly unique visitors in Q1 2014. Yelpers have written over 57 million local reviews. This all sounds great if your review was positive.

If someone wrote a bad review, it could have been they had a onetime bad experience through no fault of yours. Or worse, you had a bad time with this customer (they didn’t want to pay their deposit for damage they did on a room they rented, so they wrote something bad at you in retaliation). Or, a competing business is trying to do damage to your business.Therein lies what could turn into a significant problem.

If someone trashes your business on Yelp (or any other review site), you don’t have to sit back and take it. In fact, business owners can go on Yelp and dispute it. Yelp will check into it and the reviewers may have to answer the business owner.

Yelp reviews operate in a grey area between journalism and customer service. If you’re a business owner and see a scathing review that is completely incorrect, you may consider it akin to slander and be tempted to call your lawyer. However, Yelp cautions against this because your action may have the unintended consequence of drawing more attention to the problem. 

If you’re a consumer looking for information about a business, read between the lines. If the business had glowing reports then all of a sudden someone slams them, you might want to call the business and check it out before passing judgment. Remember:  this is the wide wide world of the Internet!


About Author

Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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