Court Rules Yelp Must Release Names Of Reviewers

A court in Virginal says Yelp has to release the names of seven critics who use its site. They gave a Washington, D.C. carpet cleaning service scathing reviews. And now the business owner wants to take them to court, saying they weren't really customers.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And our Last Word In Business today is anonymous reviews - you know, those product reviews that people write on Amazon or Yelp.

Many customers rely on them and some people have even dramatized them online - like the actor who read this review by Shelley S., from the ratings website Yelp.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (Reading review) Our food was sub-par for such a highly rated restaurant. Overcooked fish, undercooked noodles, and one dish that wasn't labeled as spicy was so hot that my father refused to eat it. I won't be going back to this particular P.F. Chang's.

(LAUGHTER)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

He even added music. Well, now, the anonymous nature of these critiques is being questioned. A court in Virginia says Yelp has got to release the names of seven critics who used their site.

INSKEEP: They gave a Washington, D.C., carpet cleaning service scathing reviews and now, the business owner wants to take them to court, saying they weren't really customers.

GREENE: OK, but we can't go without hearing just one more actor reading a review from Yelp.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (Reading review) He brought flowers for the moms at three of the five tables. And of course, I wasn't one of them. (Sighs) And now, I'm writing this bad review. How insensitive. (Crying) Do you think the other two table of moms weren't going to notice?

GREENE: And that is the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. MORNING EDITION'S theme music was written by B.J. Leiderman, and it was arranged by Jim Pugh. I'm David Greene.

INSKEEP: Indeed, you are. I'm Steve Inskeep.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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