Yelp Reviews: The New Frontier of Free Speech

It's getting risky out there in the comment section. 

This week on New Tech City we bring you a cautionary tale of e-commerce, fine print, and the drastic measures some online retailers will take to protect their reputations, even at the expense of consumers. In part two of our podcast, we explore how a court case over bad Yelp reviews might affect much wider online free speech. It gets extreme. It gets ugly. And it's going to keep happening as the reputation economy keeps growing.

The issue is this: Retailers get nailed by a bad review. Sometimes it's honest, sometimes it's exaggerated, and sometimes the bad review is flat out false and defamatory. But either way, it hurts business. So retailers are trying various ways to stop the reviews from happening: from unfounded financial fees, to extreme copyright claims about the very right to post a review about an experience, to totally justifiable defamation lawsuits. 

This is part 1, the thrills and dangers of rating a company, of a two part series. Part 2, the secret ratings companies keep on customers, is here

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