Consumers Educating Consumers: Online Critiques

Claire Cain Miller, The Review Site Yelp Draws Some Outcries of Its Own, NY Times, Mar. 4, 2009, B1.

Consumers are educating consumers on such Web sites as Yelp.  In 24 cities it has become a popular site for learning about local businesses, and positive and negative reviews.  Anyone who provides a service can be critiqued, from auto mechanics, and hair salons, to bars and clubs.  The five-year old site shows how the Internet can amplify the voices of individuals to provide useful information to the community.  So far the site has favored consumers but is struggling with businesses who pay for advertising who want to respond to reviews that are perceived as unfair.  In the past year readership was up by 4.2 million demonstrating the interest in consumer evaluations of businesses.  Businesses provide almost all the companies revenue.  The CEO has just started a Twitter account to communicate with business owners and reviewers.

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