Yelp is a social media site that recommends goods and services, divided by category. People search there for information about anything from restaurants and shopping to beauty products and health providers. Various types of professionals are recommended (or not) on the site, both by use of star rankings and an ability to post your opinions.
A few years ago, there was a Yelp defamation case in which the following occurred. Briefly stated, billing practices were the issue and the provider and the client got into a heated debate. There was quite a bit of unprofessional verbiage thrown all over this public site. Perhaps this is not a big surprise, as these days it is quite easy to just get online and say whatever you want. Settling things in person or on the phone, the old-fashioned way, seems to be out of vogue.
At some point, however, there are legal ramifications to ‘saying whatever you want’. Your First Amendment right to freedom of speech does not give you free hand to defame someone. When written communications cross a specific threshold, it becomes defamation. The following is a sort of ‘acid test’ you can apply to see if you have fallen victim to Yelp defamation:
Some of the key acid tests to see if you have been defamed online include:
ü Is what they stated about you false?
ü Was the material visible by more than ten people?
ü Did the written material accuse you of one of the following:
Being sexually deviant, committing a crime; being incompetent to perform your profession; and/or having a horrible disease.
Although there are other criteria to determine if you have fallen prey to Yelp defamation, analyzing the information given above will point you in the right direction when it comes to knowing if the person writing about you is simply exercising their right to freedom of speech or if they are a menace and guilty of defamation of your character..
In the case referred to, the “attacker” identified himself. However, many people who are guilty of things like as Yelp defamation post anonymously, and that is the thorn in the side that may prevent you from cleaning up the mess that defamation causes. Reputation Defense Online, a cyber investigation firm, specializes in doing everything necessary to put an end to Yelp defamation, including:
1. Identifying the best course of action to stop the defamation. This is done via a free initial consultation.
2. Actively investigating to find out exactly who the attacker is.
3. Putting the culprit on official notice. If your goal is simply to get the attacks to stop, this may as far as you need to go.
4. Collecting and compiling data should a lawsuit become necessary.
5. Actually beginning the legal process by filing a lawsuit.
6. Attempting to ‘settle’ with the ‘attacker’, if possible.
7. Following through and actually complete the lawsuit.
Although settlement was indeed reached in the Yelp case mentioned, it is not recommended that you go this route alone. Nip your Yelp defamation in the bud by visiting the cyber investigation professionals at www.ReputationDefenseOnline.com. You will be glad you did!