Court Says Yelp Can Hide Good Dental Reviews

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Patient Attraction Episode 261

Yesterday I told you about a dentist who is a fan of this podcasts who complained about Yelp’s “unethical” manipulation of its rankings. My response: courts would likely rule otherwise. Three weeks later, a court ruled on exactly that issue. I’ll tell you whether I was right or wrong when we return.

– So many people are under the assumption that when they look at Yelp reviews they are seeing all of the reviews.

– Well, that’s not true.

– You see some of the reviews.

– Which ones you see became the subject of a lawsuit by businesses who claimed Yelp dropped some of their positive reviews after refusing or dropping Yelp advertising.

– Yelp denies it manipulates ratings like this.

– In September, a federal appeals court said it doesn’t matter: If Yelp wants to manipulate which reviews are posted, it can.

– “As Yelp has the right to charge for legitimate advertising services, the (alleged) threat of economic harm … is, at most, hard bargaining,” and not extortion or unfair business practices, according to the 3-0 decision in the case.

– The verdict upholds a federal judge’s decision to dismiss a class-action lawsuit from the small-business owners against Yelp.

– What is the lesson here?

– Maybe Yelp’s reviews aren’t entirely on the up and up.

– Just as anything where money is involved: buyer beware.

– And where does this leave dentists?

– Exactly where you were before.

– Yelp, Facebook, Google, Angie’s List, and any yet-to-be-invented ratings sites give people a forum to say what they want about you.

– Remember, review sites are the new word-of-mouth advertising.

– Tomorrow, I’m going to tell you how you can avoid ALL negative reviews.

– Until then, Keep Moving Forward.