Yelp is a online review website that allows people to post online reviews about different things and places that they have tried. However some business owners are against yelp and the fact that anyone even a competitors has the power to slate their business. As yelp has grown and became one of the first point of calls for many now to find out about a business and how other peoples reviews this fear has grown.
A court of appeal in Virginia has backed a previous ruling that told yelp to give the identities of 7 reviewer who posted negative reviews about a business online. The Virginia state court of appeals decision can be disputed further and there is no doubt Yelp will do so. There really is a lot of mixed feelings about this ruling in Virginia. Even though this ruling has no effect of laws in other American states it may influence other state courts.
Users of Yelp are up in arms about the decision that could mean yelp will have to remove anomity from reviewers. Some yelpers as they are called have said that it is unsafe and destroys freedom of speech one yelper I spoke to raised concerns that it ould put some reviewers in danager and said that even he once posted a honest negative review with their real name about a restaurant and later the restaurant owner contacted him threatening his life.
But it is easy to see the other side of the story as businesses complain of competitors flasy creating negative reviews in a attempt to wreck the competition, plus there is a now a growing market in buying fake yelp reviews to trick people. It can really damage the creditability of Yelp if word gets out that too many reviews are fake on yelp so this could be a reason why yelp is trying stop this ruling otherwise it could sabotage their business model.
You can see that there are two very strong cases on both sides of the story.. what do you think do you think that reviewers should be anonymous or not?