Both Big Business and Small Business are getting "yelped." Without providing their identity consumers can post negative reviews on that online site. Those consumers could be competitors attempting to get an unfair advantage by badmouthing the business.
The Virginia Supreme Court is reviewing if posters on Yelp can continue to do that anonymously. Business cries "foul." Internet leaders like Google, Facebook and Twitter submitted amicus (friend of the court) briefs contending that forcing the identity issue conflicts with freedom of speech. Here is the coverage by Jacob Gershman in The Wall Street Journal.
Large corporations which get "yelped" can afford to hire a top public relations agency to do some reputation restoration. The little guy can't. In order to push back, the carpet cleaner or dog groomer who got "yelped" could leverage imagination on social media and orchestrate a clever truth-telling campaign. Another option is to set in play a gigantic word-of-mouth advocacy brigade. They can also pitch their stories to local media. For example, a useful placement would be Tucson Weekly.
The VA SC ruling will have a huge impact on reputation management.