Business Tip of the Week
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. In an FAQ on its site, Yelp evokes "The Streisand Effect," in which an action has the unintended consequence of drawing more attention to the problem. (The term got its name from Barbra Streisand, whose attempt to suppress photos of her home backfired.) As Yelp counsels:
"Far from being cowed, recipients will sometimes go public with them as a warning to others not to patronize your business. Second, beware of lawyers who are quick to file lawsuits without telling their clients that it can cost them dearly. Last, take a step back: if you find yourself insisting that a review is obviously untrue, there's every reason to think that your customers will draw the same conclusion as you. Even if they don't, Yelp's review filter is always on the prowl, and it may be able to put enough pieces of the puzzle together over the long-term to filter out the bogus review."