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Judge Rules on Yelp Reviews
DAYTON -- A follow-up to a Family 411 consumer alert we brought you in November. A court ruling could reshape the rules for online consumer reviews. A Virginia judge says the popular website Yelp must turn over the names of seven reviewers who anonymously criticized a carpet cleaning business.
Restaurant owner Karen Koeppe says she's learned in her first year in business that a positive review online can bring in customers. And conversely, Karen says, "when people are looking at this review platform and see 2 1/2 stars, they go 'next.' The social networking platforms really do make a difference in business."
Virginia business owner Joe Hadeed said anonymous users leaving bad reviews for his cleaning service on Yelp were not real customers, so his lawyer filed a subpoena, and a judge ordered Yelp to release the names. An appeals court in Alexandria ruled the comments were not protected First Amendment opinions if the statements were deliberately false.
It's not the first time the issue of questionable reviews has hit the courts. Last September, 19 companies in New York admitted to paying for positive reviews. Marketing expert Dr. Serdar Durmusoglu says, "There are always going to be companies that are going to do that."
Yelp's lawyer says the Virginia decision should concern customers because the ruling makes it more difficult for customers to get valuable information about companies. But Dermusoglu says consumers just need to be informed. He warns, "Customers have always had to be a little bit wary about what reviews they're reading."
Yelp has come under fire in the past for hiding reviews, listing them as "not recommended." The review site claims it's a way of filtering out fake reviews and says today's ruling fails to protect free speech rights.
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US homebuilder confidence edges up in April
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. homebuilders' confidence in the housing market is a bit better right now but remains relatively low for the third straight month, reflecting the impact of tight credit for home buyers and a shortage of workers and land.
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Dow Record: Three tales of ups, downs and changes
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By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
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NEW YORK (AP) -- When the Dow first crossed 14,000, investors were overjoyed. ...
`DANCING WITH THE STARS'
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It was a perfect night for James Maslow on "Dancing With the Stars."
ARMY AMPUTEE MARATHONER
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) -- Edward Lychik plans to be running in next week's Boston Marathon.
IN THE NEWS: SNOWDEN-PULITZER PRIZE
NEW YORK (AP) -- National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says giving the Pulitzer Prize in public service to those who reported on the U.S.
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