Most of us like to read online reviews. We like to read about the experiences of others before making a purchase, traveling to a destination or hiring someone to work for us. Online reviews make it possible for us to see how others have enjoyed what we are considering. Our reviews highlight a great experience or warn others of something that just didn’t work out for us.
Jane Perez of Virginia hired a contractor by the name of Christopher Dietz of Dietz Construction to perform some work on her home. They were apparently classmates at one time. Ms. Perez was unhappy with the work performed by Mr. Dietz and left a scathing review on the popular review site Yelp.com. Her review stated that Mr. Dietz had done damage to her home and billed her for work he did not perform. She even went so far as to say that jewelry had disappeared and that Mr. Dietz was the only one with a key to her home.
In response to this review, Mr. Dietz filed a $750,000 defamation lawsuit against Perez arguing that he lost $300,000 worth of business as a result of this online review. Mr. Dietz requested that the court issue an injunction to keep Perez from writing more reviews against him.
Last week the court ordered Ms. Perez to remove the reference to the stolen jewelry from her review and to change the reference to a previous lawsuit. The underlying defamation lawsuit remains pending.
A 2011 Harvard Business School Study on Seattle Restaurants found that an increase of one-star for a restaurants overall rating on Yelp results in a 5 to 9 percent jump in revenue.
Seventy percent of consumers worldwide trust online reviews. So it’s important that we be credible and accurately share our experience. If we are heated about an issue, it might be a good idea to wait a day or so to ensure that we are not acting angrily and might say something we will regret later. Finally, write your review in a Word or Google document and then paste the contents to the review site. That will give you the opportunity to read what you have written several times before you hit Submit.