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Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

Common Yelp Lawsuits May Cause Serious #PRFail

hateyelpIn the land of the free to sue anyone they want and home of the brave lawyers with no scruples to take their money, frivolous lawsuits are no stranger to the U.S. Justice System. Much to the detriment of good legal beagles out there, these lawsuits kill the reputations of so many things.

And now, they may kill Yelp all together.

The crowdsourcing website for reviews, scorn, honesty, and trolls has been in the courts of ‘Merica one too many times. However, these last few cases may have legal experts reconsidering how review websites are beneficial when so many people abuse them.

For example…

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STUDY: User Reviews Are Even More Important Than You Thought

customer-reviews-increaseAs leading proponents of “earned media”, we’ve all fretted about the value of user-generated content and the “brand advocates” who produce it. But new studies indicate that informal user reviews have even more power than we thought—especially when shared on social.

A Stanford Graduate School of Business researcher tells The New York Times that “the power of marketers is being undermined” by the trend.

This could be a good thing in some ways, though.

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Yelp Reviewers File Suit Demanding Pay for Their Sloppy Copy

PeopleloveusonYelp

Here’s a twist on the “brand ambassador” and “crowdsourced content” trends: a group of hard-working Yelp “critics” has filed a class-action lawsuit demanding that the site pay them for writing so many reviews of the businesses they love and hate.

You may think this is “incredibly stupid” given the fact that the reviewers volunteered their time and (debatable) skills and that Yelp never promised to pay them. But it’s a little more complicated than that.

The argument here: while Yelp aggressively goes after companies that pay for reviews (and PR firms that post them), the company also encourages its most prolific members to post more often by offering “trinkets, badges, titles, praise, social promotion, free liquor, free food, and free promotional Yelp attire, such as red panties with ‘Make Me Yelp!’ stamped across its bottom.”

Ha ha. And Yelp can’t honestly say that it never pays contributors with money, either.

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Study: Social Influencers Can Easily Manipulate Online Reviews

We all know how important consumer reviews can be to clients, especially those in the publishing, service and retail fields. For that reason, we were taken aback by a new study demonstrating how easily the reviews that authors and businesses work so hard to earn can be manipulated.

In short, online critics behave like sheep: the first and most prominent reviews drive the herd’s behavior, lending an inordinate amount of power to these first-touch “influencers” (who may or may not be legitimate critics).

It seems the wisdom of the masses isn’t as pure as we’d like to think.

Researchers for Science magazine conducted an extensive experiment by measuring the public’s reaction to more than 300,000 reviews over a five-month period. Some of the reviews had been manipulated by the researchers while others had not.

Their findings were revealing:

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