Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Watch Repairer Goes Legal Over Tame Yelp Review, Streisand Effect Takes Over

helmets & fucking mittens ...we ALL have 2 wear um :o

from the and-now-it's-everywhere dept

There must be something about Yelp reviews that make people act all crazy-like. Maybe it's the personal nature behind someone reviewing your goods or services, or perhaps there's something about seeing a review online in text that drives people off the deep end, but the number of legal threats and lawsuits connected to simple Yelp reviews always surprises me. Specifically, I'd have thought we've had enough of these stories by now that competent businesses would realize that issuing threats over reviews is a great way to get the Streisand reputation multiplier going.

But, apparently not. This latest example is of a watch repair shop issuing a legal threat over what I have to say is a relatively innocuous review of their business. The most scathing section appears to me to be this.
This is where Ron really lost points. I took both watches to a place called Precision Watch Repair, right around the corner, which had good ratings here on Yelp. I met with Eric, who told me first that he definitely could fix the vintage one, and also that he could repair the Ebel without sending it out - all for a good price. The Ebel was repaired in a day. I went from hopeless to happy within a span of 15 minutes. In addition, Eric called me THAT DAY with the estimate, and followed up the next day. So Ron Gordon loses in terms of creativity, and just overall slowness....which seems appropriate for a review of a watch repair shop.
No big deal, right? The review is on point, relevant to the business, and omits any real inflammatory language. Even if it turned out the claims in the review were exaggerated, we're not exactly talking about a vilification here. Well, the watch repair shop isn't taking all this mild complaining lying down, damn it.

Well, okay then. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that the claim that this one mild review was detrimental to Ron Gordon's business is probably more melodramatic than a high school freshman that just got stood up to the spring formal. This story going viral on the other hand? Yeah, that Streisand Effect is probably doing some actual harm to the business and its reputation for treating their customers well. Actually moving forward with any defamation lawsuit would be particularly tricky as well, given they'd have to prove the falsehood of the claim. Meanwhile, a whole lot more people know the name Ron Gordon Watch Repair than they did yesterday, and for all the wrong reasons.

As the original article notes, however, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised if Ron is getting bad legal advice, judging by the Yelp reviews for his lawyer.

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