Despite perceptions online, Yelp states that it will not remove reviews in exchange for payment. However, many business owners still insist that Yelp manipulates and filters both good and bad reviews depending on whether you engage its advertising services. While it is beyond the scope of this post to fully analyze whether there is merits to these claims, it is important to note that some business owners have taken Yelp to court on the issues and that none have prevailed. In fact, one court ruled that even if Yelp engaged in action of this type, there would be nothing illegal or actionable about these practices.
What it comes down to is you do not have to pay Yelp in order to secure removal of false and defamatory reviews. There are certain types of content that Yelp will remove automatically or at the request of a business owner. For requested removals, the business owner must engage in Yelp’s removal process and provide sufficient evidence to support the removal.
If you are looking for help with Yelp, the Internet defamation removal lawyers of Meyers Roman Friedberg and Lewis LPA may be able to assist your business in fighting against online defamation such as fake and false Yelp reviews. We can engage in the removal process and submit sufficient evidence to secure a removal. In fact, in many cases, we guarantee the removal of a defamatory review or we will return your fee. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation call 216-831-0042 or contact the firm online.
While Yelp will remove false or defamatory reviews, this policy is rife with caveats and conditions. To start, Yelp makes it very clear in its FAQ that while it will remove certain reviews, the site “[doesn’t] typically take sides in factual disputes and generally allow Yelpers to stand behind their reviews. This language is expansive enough to allow Yelp to avoid taking action on all but the most egregiously defamatory reviews. However, the site does state that if a review is not removed by moderators, you may send a final adjudication from “a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that the review is defamatory.”
Thus, you do have the ability to get Yelp to remove defamatory reviews, but it will likely require a court decision. In fact, a court recently required Yelp to remove defamatory reviews to a San Francisco lawyer. Yelp is determining if they will appeal the judgement. However, there may be other ways that you can secure a removal.
One other way a business owner can secure a content removal from Yelp is by showing that a post violates some other aspect of Yelp’s content guidelines. Posts that violate Yelp’s content guidelines include posts containing inappropriate content and language, including threats and harassment. Furthermore, posts where a conflict of interest are present can also be removed from the site. Conflicts of interest can include a rival business owner who leaves negative reviews regarding the business of competitors. Likewise, posts with promotional content may also be removable.
Posts that violate Yelp’s terms of service also include posts that violate other’s privacy. For instance, posts that reveal a business owner’s or an employee’s home address or other personal details would likely be removable. Furthermore, posts that demand payment or free products and services in an extortionist manner are also removable. Finally, posts that infringe on the intellectual property of another are also able to be removed from Yelp.
However, it is essential to note that posts removed to alleged violations of Yelp’s content guidelines must be presented along with sufficient evidence supporting the removal. In some cases, the violation may seem self-evident, however even in these cases evidence should be submitted to increase the odds of removal. In other situations, you may need to prove that a conflict of interest existed by uncovering the identity of the poster. This can require significant amounts of legal work including the filing of subpoenas with both Yelp and the reviewer’s ISP. Essentially, the type of proof you will need to submit will vary depending on the exact circumstances you face. However, the failure to submit this proof will significantly decrease the chances of a removal.
Fake negative reviews that target a business can cause a significant amount of damage you’re your company’s reputation and bottom-line. The good news is that you don’t have to pay Yelp to get fake reviews removed. The bad news is that getting the review removed often requires a significant amount of proof and legal legwork.
The internet defamation attorneys of Meyers Roman Friedberg and Lewis LPA can fight to protect your business from fake and defamatory Yelp reviews. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with our legal team call 216-373-7706 or contact the firm online.