Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen writes:
I have blogged several times (for example here and here) about the efforts of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning to compel Yelp to comply with a Virginia subpoena to identify seven consumers who posted critical reviews on Yelp. Our principal concern about the subpoenas was Hadeed did not claim that the gist of anything the reviewers had said about it was false — for example, it did not claim that it always honors the low-price coupons that, for this DC resident, are the most common marketing ploy used by Hadeed. Indeed, it would have been difficult for Hadeed to have presented evidence of falsity in that way, because the negative reviews over which it was suing made much the same point as many other reviews not only on Yelp but on such other forums as Angie’s List, and were consistent with the mediocre ratings Hadeed was getting at the Better Business Bureau and Washington Consumer Checkbook. Instead, Hadeed’s theory of the case was that it had reviewed its database of the thirty thousand customers whom its serves each year, but could not identify which of its customers had posted each review. Therefore, Hadeed argued, it had a valid basis for claiming that the seven reviewers were not customers and that, perforce, everything they had said about Hadeed was false because, however shifty Hadeed might be in dealing with other customers who try to redeem its low-price coupons, these individuals had not suffered from the claimed bait-and-switch tactics or poor service.
Read more on Public Citizen.