- THE MAGAZINE
Steve Toburen always talks about the value of “customer cheerleaders,” clients that aren’t only loyal, repeat customers but those who sing the praises of your company to their friends, co-workers, on Internet review sites, etc. However, while having customer cheerleaders spreading the positive word of mouth about your business is ideal, it’s not a reality for many cleaning companies, especially in today’s world of anonymous Internet reviews.
That brings me to a story I stumbled upon recently about how a Virginia carpet cleaner went head-to-head with Yelp in court after seeing a series of anonymous negative reviews about his business on the popular website. Naturally, the cleaner wanted to know whether the commenters bashing his business were legitimate customers or “trolls” who were out to damage his business reputation.
When he was unable to draw a correlation between the commenters and his customer base, the cleaner contacted Yelp and asked the site to release the identities of the customers. Not surprisingly, Yelp refused.
So Joe Hadeed, CEO/President of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning took Yelp to court.
So who do you think won – a carpet cleaner or Yelp?
The answer might surprise you – Hadeed won and Yelp had to turn over the identities of the commenters to the cleaning company. However, we should note that Virginia state law is different from most other state laws when it comes to anonymous Internet users, which you can read more about here.
So a carpet cleaner defeated Yelp with help from Virginia state law. And while cleaners elsewhere in the country that don’t operate by similar state laws likely won’t be victorious in such a situation, it’s neat to see a cleaner go to such great lengths to stick up for his business.
After all, they always say that bad word of mouth is much more widespread than good word of mouth. Here’s to hoping your customer cheerleaders far outweigh the Internet trolls regarding your business!