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.

Filed Under: policy violation, streisand effect, takedown
Companies: casey movers, yelp


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  1. icon
    Designerfx (profile), 16 Nov 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 (http://www.yelp.com/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.

    Regards,
    Holly
    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?

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