Saturday, October 05, 2013

Fake Yelp reviews

Here is a crazy lawsuit story:
Julian McMillan wants nothing to do with Yelp. He runs a small law firm in San Diego, California, focusing on bankruptcy law. And yet his business, like many others, has an entry on the reviews site.

But on Tuesday, McMillan was served with a lawsuit from Yelp, alleging breach of contract, intentional interference with contract, unfair competition, and false advertising. In short, McMillan is being sued over supposed false Yelp reviews posted from 2010 to 2012. The lawsuit was filed in late August 2013.

“It has no merit,” he told Ars. “I assure you I never asked anyone to do that.”

Why would Yelp suddenly focus on a small target when presumably fake Yelp reviews are happening on a daily basis across its site? In fact, this is the second such case involving Yelp suing a business over supposed fake reviews.

I couldn't figure out the ulterior motives here. Obviously there are plenty of fake reviews on Yelp. The Yelp reviews for Kenneth B. Perlmutter, PhD were overwhelmingly negative until he started posting fake reviews. Now every review has either the lowest possible rating, or the highest. One fake review says:
Dr. P definitely has the child's best interest at heart. After working with parent's of children involved in high custody disputes I know that he has an extremely difficult job. Nonetheless, he is able to wade through the accusations, resentment and anger to find what is best for each child.
No, I am pretty sure he never did that. All of his evaluations have been bad.

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