Yelp Takes Down Review That Sparked Legal Threat

from the weak-sauce dept

Yesterday we had the story of how an 18-month-old Yelp review for Casey Movers in Massachusetts spurred the company to send a legal threat to the author, Kristen Buckley, leading her husband, Phil Buckley to do some research and uncover questionable "positive" reviews of the company, and to call the company out for its legal threat. That story has been getting a lot of attention from a variety of sources, and some have noticed that the original review is gone. Yes, gone. If you go there, you can now see Kristen's followup comment about the legal threat, and Casey Movers' response to the original review -- but not the original review itself.

So what happened? Apparently Yelp took the review down because it violated their policy "because it lacks firsthand experience." The issue is that Kristen admits that the movers were hired by her parents, and the review was on their behalf. Peter notes that Kristen was present when the events happened, so the "lacks firsthand experience" is pretty questionable. That said, the removal seems odd no matter what. The review was up for 18 months and Yelp just took an interest in taking it down in the days after the legal threat went out?

It seems unfortunate in timing -- especially since the reasons for the disappearance of the review are not made public (they were sent via email to Kristen). Anyone reading about this story elsewhere and going to Yelp to see the review are likely to now believe that the original review was taken down due to Casey Movers' complaints about the accuracy of the review, when that doesn't appear to be the case.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 3:41pm

    par for the course

    Yelp is notoriously shady in general, so this doesn't surprise me one bit.
    Just google "yelp extortion" to get an idea about some of their business practices.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 3:50pm


    Can you yelp about Yelp?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Glenn2666, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 4:20pm

    I'm in the midst of forming a new website to go head to head with yelp.

    I'm going to bury yelp

    *** stay tuned in march 2013

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Pixelation, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 4:53pm

    My experience says Yelp is a little shady too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Tim, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 4:57pm

    This is Jeremy Stopprlman's mother. Who reviews a Burger King for gods sake?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Tim, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 5:00pm

    And this is Jeremy Stopprlman's brother, Michael. He seems less cocky and arrogant than his older brother.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Designerfx (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:16pm

    more coverage please

    I put up a review linking to this issue, and the original coverage on techdirt.

    Here was my reply I received from yelp:

    Hi there,

    We're writing to let you know that we've removed your review of Casey Movers. Though we understand this business has received media attention due to recent events and that users may want to share their opinions, we hope you'll understand that Yelp reviews are not the place for matters outside of your own consumer experience. Our Content Guidelines ( make clear that reviews should focus on an actual customer experience, and we think this is an important requirement for keeping Yelp a useful site for consumer reviews.

    Due to our guidelines, please note that we will not be accepting further postings from you for this listing.

    Thanks for your understanding and for keeping our guidelines in mind as you continue to participate on Yelp.

    Yelp User Support
    San Francisco, California

    the last part I can't even understand. What if I did do business with Casey Movers somehow? What if I do in the future?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Phil Buckley (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:02pm

    Kristen's Mom has reposted

    First off, thanks for following up on this story TechDirt.

    Second. When Kristen told her mom what happened, she decided to sign up for Yelp and post her "first-hand" account.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Kristen B., Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:11pm

    Yelp removed my review of Casey Movers

    I'm the person in question, whose original review of Casey Movers was removed by Yelp.
    Dean, at Yelp, stated that I violated their Content Guidelines, however he declined to say exactly which one. I reviewed their Content Guidelines and I very clearly did not violate any of their guidelines.
    So in response to this I helped my mother, the person who actually did business with Casey Movers, create a Yelp profile and post a review.
    Her review was showing up under Casey Movers for approximately 45 minutes......and then it was moved to the Filtered Reviews section.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Tim, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:57pm

    Jeremy Stoppelman CEO of is a real winner. Well, no, not really. This man runs a company that not only thrives on negative attention, but refuses to respond to legitimate concerns.

    I am not sure how he can sleep at night knowing that he is running such a joke of a company.
    You can see here that you're one of thousands of people who feel the same way you do:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Davey, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 11:19am

    Just more skeeze from yelp

    If she was there when this went down, she has "first-hand experience". That's not questionable. Obviously Yelp is bowing to pressure and trying to hide their lack of integrity by emitting smelly smoke about "guidelines". Too bad the guidelines apparently don't apply to all their fake "reviews" that they do nothing to monitor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    nathaniel, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 3:27pm


    contact me please, I will support you

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2012 @ 7:17am

    So yelp is important. How?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    redleaf (profile), Nov 19th, 2012 @ 9:44am

    The Real Scandal

    Wow how does a company with 4 reviews have 56 filtered reviews? And then when you go to the filtered reviews page it shows that on top of those 56 there's 85 reviews that were removed for violating their policy? That's insane.

    I own a business listed on Yelp. It has 45 reviews, 11 filtered reviews, and 0 removed. It's good to know that a scammy business can game the system on there.

    Also why is the CAPTCHA necessary to see the filtered reviews? Who would set up a bot to scrape those?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Kristen's Mom has reposted

    That's what should have happened in the first place. Would Kristen have posted a review on Amazon expressing her mother's opinion of a book she had read?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    sunk818 (profile), Nov 19th, 2012 @ 8:21pm

    Yelp has been accused of and found guilty of taking bribes from paying businesses to have reviews removed. This was documented a few years back, but I see they are still up the same business practices. Back then, it was complete removal of the review without communication to you... then Yelp copped to it, and said they would bury your review requiring a "second" click to see it... Now, they are outright untrustworthy.

    I got food poisoning on my honeymoon at I'O restaurant in Maui Hawaii. I ordered the trio meat plate. I ate the whole lamb, but my wife tried everything else. I got food poisoning for 1 day. I Yelped about their lack of safe cooking standards, I even posted my chargeback attempt with them on my AmEx. Both my review and later scanned picture of the chargeback letter were both removed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    Tex Arcana (profile), Nov 22nd, 2012 @ 4:52pm

    "Yelp": the sound you make when you get screwed by Yelp.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Will not be silenced, Feb 17th, 2013 @ 10:54am

    San Diego Harbor Police racially profiled me and later submitted false statements to FBI

    Same thing happened after I posted an entirely truthful account ofa police misconduct incident involving the San Diego harbor police department. Troy Nicol and Thomas Bland racially profiled me because of my "dark complexion" and "other" race. Officer Bland wrote me an infraction ticket based on falsified evidence. The ticket was dismissed in court and days later FBI agents were sent to question me based on a false report submitted to them. Officer bland falsely accused me of "photographing cargo ships" even though I didn't have a camera and it was dark outside. I posted only the facts of what happened and my review was deleted subsequently. Recently a bogus 5 star review was posted which is simply a copy-paste job from the PD's website.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    Tex Arcana (profile), Feb 17th, 2013 @ 12:14pm

    Re: San Diego Harbor Police racially profiled me and later submitted false statements to FBI

    Par for the course.

    Pigs protecting pigs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Still speaking!, Aug 27th, 2013 @ 4:38pm

    Troy Nicol, Australian criminal/cop in San Diego

    Too bad they can't silence me on copblock and the other blogs which picked up my article.

    Google: Troy Nicol Australia

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Advertisement - Amazon Prime Music
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.