Online Reviews

News & Analysis as of

Advertising Law - March 2015 #5

Paying for Consumer Reviews Gets Company FTC Action - Accused of failing to disclose that it gave cash discounts to customers to post online reviews, AmeriFreight and owner Marius Lehmann agreed to a settlement with...more

IP Alert: Brand Owners Must Consider Whether to Pay Hefty Fees to Preempt Gripers and Extortionists from Registering...

.SUCKS - Make no mistake—the new generic top level domains (gTLDs) are big business. Witness Google’s purchase last month, at auction, of the .APP gTLD for $25 million. Nearly 550 new gTLDs have been delegated, with...more

Purchase .Sucks Domain?

We are all familiar with .Com, .Edu, .Mil and .Org; however, you may have noticed that these so-called “Top Level Domain” (or TLD) name extensions have been expanding. Soon the .Sucks, .Porn and .XXX suffixes will be...more

Can Comments By a Federal Employee Result in a Taking Requiring Compensation Under the Fifth Amendment?

It depends. A recent decision out of the Federal Circuit tackled this very issue, and the court’s decision strongly suggests that a taking could arise under the right circumstances. (Filler v. U.S. (Fed. Cir. Mar. 10, 2015)...more

Landmark UK Judgment Against Author of False Online Review

When Google users searched for The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., they would not be able to miss a scathing review calling Mr. Bussey a “scumbag” who “loses 80% of his cases.” Discovery revealed the disgruntled “client” to be a...more

Business Law Newsletter - March 2015

In This Issue: - Small Businesses: Responding to and Resolving Scathing (or False) Online Reviews - DWI in Your Driveway - Excerpt from DWI in Your Driveway: Drivers in the Commonwealth be...more

Advertising Law - March 2015

NAD: A Product Can’t be The “#1 Prescribed Brand” Without Other Prescribed Brands - A “#1 brand prescribed” claim implies that professionals have a choice in prescribing brands, the National Advertising Division...more

Incentivized Reviews Without Disclosure Get Panned by FTC

In the latest iteration of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) approach to testimonials and endorsements in the context of online advertising, the Commission alleged that AmeriFreight, a company that arranges the shipment of...more

Nutritious and Judicious: Nutribullet Blender False Ad Claim Survives Attack from Ninjas and Phantom Reviewers

While courts may not officially be in the business of ghostbusting, a district court in California recently offered some support to a blender manufacturer apparently haunted by a phantom reviewer. The court found that...more

Small Businesses: Responding to and Resolving Scathing (or False) Online Reviews

The Internet is a great resource for businesses to market to clientele in both an efficient and cost-effective manner. Unfortunately, the ease with which a person can use the Internet also results in the possibility of...more

Woodbridge Structured Funding LLC v. Pissed Consumer

Decision and Order of NY Appellate Division Affirming Order Dismissing Petition for Discovery of Anonymous Commenter

Decision of the Appellate Division, First Department, affirming the dismissal by the trial court in New York County which denied a petition to compel PissedConsumer.com to disclose the identity of the person or persons who...more

Social Media: 10 Fundamental Questions All Businesses Should Consider About Their Online Presence

Twenty years ago, the social media world we now live in was the stuff of science fiction. Today, social media is a critical business tool creating unprecedented opportunities for direct consumer interaction, brand awareness,...more

Employee Gripe Apps: Should Companies Be Concerned?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by Lindsay Gellman on a new app by Collectively that allows users to post anonymous reviews of and complaints about their employers. The app is cheekily called...more

Are Non-Disparagement Clauses a Good Idea?

Creatively, some physicians have been turning to non-disparagement clauses within confidentiality agreements as a way to prevent patients and potential patients from posting negative online reviews....more

California Bans Nondisparagement Clauses in Consumer Contracts

The “Yelp” Bill impacts any entity or person doing business with consumers in California. Those who are fans of writing product or service reviews for sites such as Yelp will be pleased that California law just made it much...more

Hurdles to Bringing a Defamation Suit for an Online Review

Courts and the legislature alike have made it difficult for doctors and business owners of all kinds to succeed on a defamation claim for an online review, often treating these lawsuits as attempts to silence freedom of...more

California Supreme Court Denies Review of Ruling Allowing Restaurant Owner’s False Advertising Claims to Proceed Against Yelp

On November 12, 2014, the California Supreme Court denied review of the California Court of Appeals decision in Demetriades v. Yelp, Inc., 2014 WL 3661491 (Cal. App. July 24, 2014), which allowed a restaurant owner to proceed...more

Negative Online Reviews- What Amounts to Defamation?

Online review can impact a medical practice more than ever in today’s digital world and no one is policing what patients post online or how truthful it is. All it takes is a cell phone and in a few minutes a review can be...more

Status Updates - November 2014 #2

..Bad chords. A European musician’s attempt to stop a negative concert review from continuing to appear in Internet search results is raising questions about whether the EU’s “right to be forgotten” ruling could prevent the...more

Internet Free-Speech and the Push Towards Unmasking Online Anonymity

Internet heavyweights including Google, Facebook, and Twitter are backing the popular business review site Yelp in a Virginia Supreme Court case that has gained country-wide attention as having the potential to significantly...more

Ninth Circuit Knocks Down Unfair Competition Case against Yelp!

For those few of you who don’t know already, Yelp! (“Yelp”) is a wildly popular website where people can share their reviews, opinions, experiences, and ratings of businesses across the country. This service is invaluable...more

NARB Panel Cautions Use of Online Consumer Reviews to Substantiate Claims

A recent ruling by the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) cautions companies about using online customer reviews to support "most recommended" claims, reminding advertisers that are eager to leverage customer feedback...more

Advertising Law - Oct 2014

FTC Mows Down Astroturfing at Yahoo - The Federal Trade Commission has closed an investigation into “astroturfing” by Yahoo employees and declined to take enforcement action because of the limited number of workers...more

Digital Marketing Minute: A Bad Review for Yelp

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced last week that Yelp – the online service through which consumers can read and write reviews about local businesses, has agreed to pay $450,000 to settle the FTC’s charges that Yelp...more

Litigation Alert: California Bans Non-Disparagement Clauses in Consumer Contracts

On September 9, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 2365, popularly referred to as the “Yelp” bill. The new law, codified at California Civil Code section 1670.8, will prohibit the use of “non-disparagement” clauses...more

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