Yelp Ruling Is Double-Edged Sword In Online Review Fights

By Natalie Rodriguez (January 14, 2014, 9:01 PM EST) -- A recent Virginia appeals court ruling forcing Yelp Inc. to disclose the identities of reviewers hands companies a new tool to battle anonymous online bashers, but attorneys say hospitality firms should be leery of wielding it as a legal weapon.

The Jan. 7 decision has been touted by industry talking heads as potentially chilling online complaints, but attorneys say hotels, restaurants and other companies dependent on their online reputations should stick to more traditional tools before turning to litigation. These include negotiating with online companies to remove a post or bolstering social media efforts to counter negative claims.

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