The jury has spoken.
Stephen Blumberg owns Stephen Leigh Jewelers in Massachusetts.
Toodie’s Fine Jewelry is a competitor.
Allegedly, Adam Jacobs, a Toodie’s employee, wrote a multi-paragraph negative Yelp review about Stephen Leigh Jewelers. The review said he was looking for a 1.5 karat engagement ring and he had a negative experience. He then advised people similarly situated to go elsewhere.
Blumberg researched the username “Adam J.” “Adam J.” had reviewed other sites on Yelp. Blumberg called several of these businesses and put two and two together.
He concluded “Adam J.” was the son of a competitor and he had never been to Toodie’s.
The review was fake.
Blumberg sued Adam Jacobs and Toodie’s.
In March of this year, a jury awarded Blumberg ~$35,000 for emotional distress. It held Adam Jacobs fully liable. The jury exonerated the store, Toodie’s.
Asked for comment, the lawyer responded, “We’re thrilled that Toodie’s has been vindicated.”
It seems so easy to hit click and cause some mischief. But, it is getting harder and harder to hide the source of this mischief.
Regulatory bodies and juries are taking note. And taking action. And it’s not just fake negative reviews. Fake positive reviews are also coming under increased scrutiny.
An urgent care medical service provider in New York paid thousands of dollars to internet advertising companies and freelance writers for positive reviews on consumer opinion websites. The healthcare provider never required that reviewers visit its facility or experience the services, and never disclosed that the reviewers were paid for the review. The New York Attorney General announced a $100,000 settlement and cited the FTC “Guidelines on the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.” Further, they are prohibited from falsely saying that someone promoting its services is an independent party and cannot pay an endorser unless the payment is disclosed.
That’s a chunk of change.
So, there you have it. Resist the impulse.
What do you think?