Online Reviews

News & Analysis as of

New Federal Law Protects Consumers’ Right to Post Negative Online Reviews

In the digital age, online reviews of a business are often the first place consumers turn to in order to gather information about a business, such as a restaurant, retail store or even a professional service provider. It is...more

Alert: New Federal Law Prohibits Non-Disparagement Provisions in Form Contracts

A new federal law provides protection for US consumers who post negative reviews online.1 The Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 (the "Act") prohibits companies from including provisions in their form agreements that ban or...more

Consumer Review Fairness Act Prevents Companies From Stifling Negative Consumer Reviews

Troubled by the effect of inaccurate or unfair negative online reviews of their businesses, some companies have inserted "anti-disparagement clauses" into their consumer-facing contracts. From the start, these clauses have...more

Client Alert: Action Needed by Organizations whose Websites allow User Postings

Businesses and nonprofits that operate a website or other online presence (mobile app, blog, portal, game, etc.) where users may post content (for example, in a user forum) will need to take action in 2017 in order to obtain...more

Online Reviewers Get New Protections

Your business booked a large charity event. However, the customer contact turns out to be a nightmare. She complains (during and after the event) that the service was slow, the food looked and tasted like a frozen meal, and...more

New Jersey Prohibits Company from Contractually Banning Online Customer Reviews

This week, NJ Attorney General Christopher Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs settled with Fertility Bridges, Inc., a fertility clinic operating in California and Illinois, over the clinic’s practice of...more

New Laws Criminalize Online Ticket Bots and Protect Consumers’ Right to Review

Earlier this month, President Obama approved two pieces of consumer protection legislation aimed at curbing the use of automatic programs to purchase tickets through online sellers and limiting the ability of companies to use...more

Consumer Review Fairness Act

On December 15, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA). Effective immediately, the law prevents companies from contractually prohibiting their consumers from “disparaging” them in any...more

Protecting the Right to Complain: The Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016

On December 14, 2016, President Obama signed into effect the “Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016” (the “Act”), making it more difficult for businesses to bring lawsuits over negative reviews. The Act, which passed with...more

Congress Voids Form Contract Provisions That Impede Consumer Reviews

To paraphrase William Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage, businesses may ask you for a review, but they only want praise. Indeed some businesses have tried to ensure only good reviews by including non-disparagement clauses...more

Social Media and Georgia’s New Anti-SLAPP Statute

These days, one of the most effective ways to advertise your business is through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. At virtually no cost, social media allows you to conveniently market your...more

The Freedom to Yelp: Congress Curbs ToS Overreach

Worried about a company retaliating against you when you post a negative review on Yelp or TripAdvisor? Worry no longer because Congress has your back. Last week, Congress passed a law that will make it illegal for companies...more

The Freedom to Yelp: Congress Curbs ToS Overreach

Worried about a company retaliating against you when you post a negative review on Yelp or TripAdvisor? Worry no longer because Congress has your back. Last week, Congress passed a law that will make it illegal for companies...more

NY Medical Providers: Use Caution When Soliciting Positive Reviews on Consumer-Review Websites

Consumers often seek online reviews of a business on platforms such as Yelp, CitySearch, Yahoo and Google Plus Pages before purchasing products or services. This includes patients seeking online reviews of a physician or...more

Congress Passes “Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016” to Protect Online Reviews

New legislation passed by Congress on Monday, November 28, attempts to curb aggressive tactics against the authors of negative online reviews. The legislation bans the practice of contractually prohibiting consumers from...more

Ninth Circuit Reaffirms Section 230 Protections

Information Counts. That’s the title of this blog. And it’s an indisputable fact. Information is – and has been for at least 20 years – the currency of our economy, providing consumers, regulators and the general public...more

Yelp Case Shows CDA §230 Still Has Teeth

2016 has been a challenging year for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the website operators who depend on it for protection against liability stemming from user-generated content. An unusually large...more

Ninth Circuit Holds Yelp Is Not Responsible for Bad Reviews

The Ninth Circuit recently reaffirmed the protection afforded to website providers and users under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. In that case, a locksmith sued Yelp over a bad review and one-star rating that...more

Yelp Cannot Be Held Liable for Negative Review

Retailers are familiar with Yelp.com as a ratings website with a star rating system that allows customers to rate products and services they receive, as well as add individual reviews and comments. Positive reviews can...more

Locksmith Locked Out By Communications Decency Act

The Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) provides broad immunity for “providers of interactive computer services.” In essence, if an internet service provider falls within certain parameters, it is entitled to immunity against...more

Don't Post That! Protecting Patient Privacy in the Age of Social Media

Social media has great utility for urgent care centers, providing invaluable opportunities to connect with the local community, and offering a host of educational tools for providers and patients. The explosion of myriad...more

When It Comes to Liability, Whose User Generated Content Is It Anyway?

Hospitality industry stakeholders who host sites for online reviews or rely on review sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, or Oyster, may take comfort in the recent Ninth Circuit decision regarding the liability of...more

Regulators and Industry Thought Leaders Discuss Issues in Social Media Advertising - Highlights from "The FTC, Native Advertising...

Holland & Knight and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) on Sept. 21, 2016, held an informative, half-day seminar featuring presentations and a panel discussion of trends and forefront regulatory compliance issues...more

UPDATE: CA Supreme Court Grants Review of Order Requiring Yelp.com to Remove Negative Reviews of Law Firm Following Determination...

In a case which was the subject of our Alert dated June 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court agreed on September 21, 2016 to review a lawsuit that Yelp.com warns could lead to the removal of negative reviews on the popular...more

NAD Revisits Crowd-Sourced Substantiation

Traditionally, when companies wanted to advertise that consumers preferred their product over another product, the companies would substantiate their claim by running a survey. Consumers would be stopped in a mall, called, or...more

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