Local Links of Interest

Maryland Ruling Supports Anonymous Postings – Wendy Davis, MediaPost

“On the one hand, posters have a First Amendment right to retain their anonymity and not to be subject to frivolous suits for defamation brought solely to unmask their identity,” the court wrote. “On the other, viable causes of actions for defamation should not be barred in the Internet context.”

With the decision, Maryland joins courts in Arizona, California, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Texas, as well as the District of Columbia, that have ruled that anonymous commenters are entitled to legal safeguards before being unmasked, said Sam Bayard, assistant director of the digital rights group Citizen Media Law Project.

In-Stat: Smartphones To Be Mainstream By 2013 – Mark Walsh

Technology research firm In-Stat projects that smartphone sales will grow strongly over the next five years, accounting for 20% of all handsets globally by 2013 compared to 10% today.
In North America, the number of smartphones will increase 15% annually over the next five years, more than doubling to 62.3 million units in 2013. With prices coming down as the choice of smartphones increases, more than one-third of U.S. wireless users in 2008 said they plan to get a smartphone the next time they upgrade their phone. Today, 36% of U.S. subscribers already own one.

The Review Site Yelp Draws Some Outcries of Its Own – Claire Cain Miller, NYTimes.com

But as with other big sites that rely heavily on user reviews, like TripAdvisor, Amazon.com and CNet, Yelp is struggling to serve the competing needs of the reviewed businesses, some of whom advertise, and the users, who can safely and anonymously say anything they want.

Yelp has made some recent changes to please business owners. Yet it still refuses to investigate reviews accused of being inaccurate or permit businesses to respond to reviews on the site. Instead, the company operates on the premise that reviewers tend to be truthful and that greater accuracy will emerge from more reviews.

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One thought on “Local Links of Interest”

  1. Mike: Thanks for not letting this issue die. This is a real problem. My impression is that most user reviews are totally bogus.

    My belief is competitors trash their opponents with fake reviews and business owners write fake reviews to overcome the false reviews.

    My belief is that reviews should not be anonymous and that businesses like Yelp should require credit card verification in order to prove ID.

    It is lame the way you will see like 10 or 15 positive reviews, all posted within a two or three day period as well. These are obviously gamed! User reviews are simply not trustworthy without a sound policy to ensure they are REAL!

    But conversely, average folks don’t know this and they can unfairly enrich a business, or unfairly and more often than not, punish a business.

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