Best Way to Remove Negative Reviews on Yelp

Negative reviews can hurt your business’s reputation significantly, both online and in-person. But it can cause even more damage when statements made in those reviews are undeniably false. On the positive side, false statements can actually be the final reason why you can get a negative review removed from the site, so pay attention to everything we talk about in this article today. Yelp review removal is not as difficult as other review sites, but it can still create a challenge, depending upon the situation.

What Is Yelp?

Yelp is an online platform where ordinary people can go to leave honest reviews for local restaurants, stores, home services, and other businesses. Anyone can see the reviews after posting, and it plays a great influence on the decision-making process of many people when looking for a place to go.

What Is Online Defamation / Cyber Libel

Defamation is an act that, when committed, results in harmful effects on someone’s reputation. Defamation can happen to individuals or businesses, and when it occurs online, it is then referred to as online defamation or cyber libel. When a source posts false statements using a review site like Yelp to ruin that business’s chances of getting customers, this counts as online defamation.

It is one thing to post negative reviews based on experience or opinion. Still, you cannot create false situations and statements, claiming them as fact, to intentionally dampen customer’s opinions.

To read the exact definition and what classifies as online defamation – click here.

Online defamation is particularly scandalous when the person/organization doing it is a competitor of the business. Businesses often do this to bring customers to them instead of the competitor, without realizing that this method is not effective because of how fast review website hosts remove the defamatory posts.

Why Is it Difficult to Remove Content from Yelp?

No matter what review site you are dealing with, reviews are hard to remove when you are not the person who made them. Legally, anyone is free to post reviews online, and they have the right to share their opinions. However, you can acquire a court order to get a review taken down if it infringes on copyright claims or shows defamation toward your business.

Yelp, specifically, does provide some assistance with removing reviews that are false or defamatory. You can report a Yelp review so that the moderators on the site will re-verify the post and look over it to see if the review should come down or not. Otherwise, you will have to get legal help to force the removal of the false review.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act?

The Communications Decency Act, specifically section 230, protects the people who run the Yelp platform. They will not get in trouble for any conflicts between reviewers and businesses on their site because of how Section 230 states that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects websites that publish third-party content. It protects social media websites and pretty much any website that allows people to post within a community.

Fair Use

Fair Use permits the unlicensed use of copyright-protected content. Only certain circumstances qualify for Fair Use, but everything is outlined in Section 107 of the Copyright Act. A judge can determine Fair Use in court if the situation persists, and that determination depends on four aspects:

  1. Purpose and character of the use
  1. Nature of the copyrighted work
  1. The amount or portion of the copyrighted work used
  1. The effect of the use of that content

Usually, not just anyone can use content that has a copyright owner unless they have explicit permission from that owner. However, Fair Use overrules this. Because of Fair Use, you may have trouble taking down a Yelp review if someone successfully claims your content for Fair Use.

How to Use DMCA to Remove Copyright Content from Yelp?

If you find that someone is using a portion of your copyrighted content or a copyrighted image for their post, and the use of that content does not pass as Fair Use, you can remove it. Do this by using a DMCA notice.

DMCA stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which you can use to send a removal notice to a website for a specific piece of content or post. The notice asks the website host to cease and desist the use of the copyrighted content, which could mean the removal of a post or an image from a post, depending on what is under your copyright.

Websites like Yelp that allow people to make posts must designate an agent to handle DCMA notices. Most websites provide information for their agent. If you are the owner of a website that hosts third-party content and does not have an agent, you can find one in the DMCA Designated Agent Directory.

To report copyright or trademark infringement to Yelp, visit the Yelp Support Center and fill out the form provided as well as any additional information you can offer on the content you believe is violating copyright. The support team will then review that form to determine the removal of a Yelp review.

How to Remove a Review on Yelp

The Yelp support team can help with removing a review, especially if it has false or defamatory statements that have affected your business. It is unlikely that Yelp will remove a review just because a person gave your business a low rating, but you can still flag a review to have them look over the post again with a chance of them removing it.

Online reputation management services can help in contacting Yelp and responding to negative Yelp reviews.

About the author

William Jones is an Online marketing specialist and consultant with more than 15 years of experience in marketing. His expertise in marketing includes website design, email marketing, SEO, blogging, PPC, social media marketing, and online reputation management for businesses.


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