A real quandary.
Let’s assume that Yelp’s position (“we’re just the place where people say things and so we aren’t responsible for what people say when they come here”) is fair and right and legally correct.
Let’s further assume that in talking to businesses that contact them with problems their sales pitch includes careful wording, such as “we don’t police this stuff for strangers, but we do make calls to verify information on behalf of paying customers as part of our service to them”.
Have they then done anything wrong?
It SOUNDS creepy, but in my opinion they really aren’t doing anything wrong under those very specific circumstances. The problem crops up when their sales people are something other than clear . . . or when people think they’ve been something other than precise.
Should Yelp and businesses that do things like what Yelp does be responsible for the actions of others? That’s like asking if your Internet Service Provider should be responsible if you download something illegal. That’s already been more or less decided in Australia, remember?
More to come, I’m sure. Stay tuned . . .