Yelp Fights Make Leap To Real-World Violence, Says Reviewer

To hear Yelp reviewer "Sean C." tell it, San Francisco's Ocean Avenue Books really didn't appreciate his pan of the "TOTAL MESS" of a store: The owner somehow found his home, he said, and tried to force her way in.

Fellow Yelpers were initially skeptical about Sean C.'s claims in this Yelp comment thread until he produced apparently authentic screenshots of the owner's angry private Yelp messages to him, and until a Yelp admin weighed in to say "we're here to help Sean out in any way we can... there's no telling how this person may have unearthed Sean's place of residence, but rest assured, that information was in no way.... provided by Yelp."

Sean C. never bought anything in the store in question and has an unlisted address which he never provided to Yelp, so he's truly baffled how the owner tracked him down. But track him down she most certainly did, the reviewer said in a series of posts:

Tonight I get a knock at my front door - I open it and a woman tries to force her way in... it seriously took all my strength to get her out.... and I had to wrestle with her on my front steps... was trying to pin her down incase she had a weapon.



Finally I was able to shut the door and call 911 - the police showed up and took her away. Turns out it was the business owner! ... They took her to jail and will try to put a 72 hour psychiatric hold but they said it's up to the doctor that examines her...

Now Sean C. is trying to get a restraining order, which he said the police offered to serve while the woman is still in jail. (UPDATE: The store owner denies most of his account. See bottom of this post.)

You can find Sean C.'s original, two-star review followed by the owner's alleged private messages below, caling the reviewer a "pussy boy" and a "coward." There are surely loads of other business owners who have been sorely tempted to try and do likewise, though good sense, respect for the law and the tendency of Yelp reviewers to be anonymous and thus un-find-able tend to dissuade them.

Key to the entire Yelp enterprise is how it enables a passive-aggressive approach to customer feedback: You say anonymously — but in public, online — what you couldn't bring yourself to say directly (and perhaps more politely) to the staff when you were in the actual place of business. This provides consumers with tremendous new powers — and business owners with a frustrating new set of headaches. Maddeningly frustrating, it would seem.

UPDATE: The store owner says it was Sean C. who attacked, that she never forced open his door and that she came to his house to apologize. More here.

Yelp Fights Make Leap To Real-World Violence, Says Reviewer

Yelp Fights Make Leap To Real-World Violence, Says Reviewer

Yelp Fights Make Leap To Real-World Violence, Says Reviewer

Yelp Fights Make Leap To Real-World Violence, Says Reviewer

Yelp Fights Make Leap To Real-World Violence, Says Reviewer

Yelp Fights Make Leap To Real-World Violence, Says Reviewer

(Top pic: by Steve Rhodes)