There's a woman in New York who is facing a $1000 lawsuit for giving a negative review to a service provider on Yelp.
Tell the Truth at Your Own Risk
"The guy's an idiot. He doesn't deliver. And he's not there to make good on what he promised," is a paraphrase of what she said.
Yelp posted her review. She got $400 back.
But ... there's always a butt, er, but, the guy she reviewed countersued. He took her to court for $1000 and claimed defamation.
She spoke her piece. Freedom of speech. He sued. Freedom to keep the court system funded.
Reviews - positive and negative can be manipulated. I know of companies who hire people to write negative reviews about competitors. These same people will hire people to write positive reviews about themselves.
If Something Can Be Manipulated, It Will Be
There's a very popular service site that I use that will NOT keep negative reviews if/when you ask and get your money back. I have to choose between warning off other people and getting my money back. Is something wrong here?
Why can't I give an honest review AND get my money back, too? Essentially, I have to pay for the service or pay to be able to say what I really think.
My wife is an avid review reader. She will ask strangers what's the best brand to buy.
Scammed at the Vatican
Not long ago we took a tour of the Vatican. Indeed, we read the reviews and made our decision. Scammed! We ended up buying something we didn't need for much more than we needed to pay. We didn't need it so we wasted ALL of our money.
Brands will give away products or even pay bloggers to write reviews. When I tell my blogging classes that they should let people know they are being paid to review a product, I get the, "Huh?! Really?" look.
When reading reviews it seems to me that a fundamental question the reader should ask is, "Can these reviews be manipulated?" If the answer is, 'Yes,' then the reviews are not trustworthy.
The best place to get reviews is from people that you trust who might be able to give you a review from people they trust.
Good luck with that. Let me know how it works for you. #Buzz