Carpet Bombing: How One Business Is Trying to Get Rid of Bad Reviews

16 01 2014


NYT Bits Blog
January 16, 2014


Some shopkeepers and restaurant owners have been railing against Yelp since it began. They say customers try to blackmail them — “I want a free dessert or I’m going to post a negative review.” They mutter that Yelp shakes businesses down for advertising. There is no evidence this is true, and lawsuits alleging it have gone nowhere . . . .

Now a Virginia carpet and rug cleaner is mounting a different sort of challenge to Yelp.

Hadeed Carpet, a business in a Washington, D.C., suburb, had a bunch of negative reviews, the kind that would make any potential customer keep walking. . . .

Hadeed asserts that Bob G. and the rest likely do not exist; presumably they were created by competitors trying to bring Hadeed down. That would remove the reviews from the protection of the First Amendment and make them defamatory. So it filed suit against the anonymous reviewers, and sought to compel Yelp to turn over their real names.


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