"The wine was cheap and the cheese tasted like Velveeta having a bad day. Don't hire Company X to cater any event you want to be memorable for something other than the disappointed looks on your guests' faces."
From the beginning of the Internet, this kind of consumer review was entertainment in itself. People gobbled it up. Also, panning a whatever amost was considered a public service. Others didn't have to go through a similar purchasing disaster.
No surprise, review sites like Yelp became hot. But the end may be near. THE WASHINGTON POST reports a $750,00 lawsuit by contractor Christopher Dietz. On Yelp his customer Jane Perez gave his work a horrific review. He contends defamation. She assumed that she was simply expressing her opinion. Now she has to begin paying legal bills to defend herself.
This is scary. As WaPo notes, until recently juries have tended to rule in favor of freedom of speech. Now, cases are being approached from more than just that point of view. After all, a business can be destroyed by a negative review.
The Dietz lawsuit will be closely watched. If it's not tossed, a lot of those who might have posted a negative review won't. Even the thought of being hauled into court is too threatening. That will make Yelp a whole lot less interesting. Traffic could plummet. In fact, the whole consumer review trend could implode. Lawyers don't come cheap.