The New York Times is reporting that a U. S. District Court Judge in San Francisco has dismissed a lawsuit against Yelp! brought by shareholders, who claimed that the site had been manipulating reviews in favor of “paying” advertisers, who might have felt extorted to buy ad space. The link is here. The judge felt that shareholders should understand that any strategy to screen user-generated content is not foolproof. I chuckle a bit at this in conjunction with another potential issue down the road, Section 230.
I pay a small membership to another site, Angie’s List, and get email prompts for reviews. But I’ve used very few household services in recent months and most of the time they are with contractors I know. (There was a dispute with one after the derecho in 2012, but I simply don’t think it’s prudent to carry these out in social media – for reasons well documented in this blog. I’m not into destroying reputations, and I’ll come back to that soon.) Angie always says, “You can’t pay for a review on Angie’s List” and I tend to believe her. Yet I see schemes occasionally for sefl-published authors to pay for book reviews and promotions.