To­day’s sto­ry is a goody. A law firm faked its own on­line re­views on Yelp.


On the sur­face, this is a big red flag: don’t fake on­line re­views! Yelp might sue you!

Of course, they are right: you should­n’t fake any­thing. That’s im­moral, bad, and like­ly to cause you a lot of prob­lems (as these guys have seen!).

But lets dig be­low the sur­face.

First, these guys are mo­rons. Do­ing it from their own of­fice? C’­mon, at least go to the cafe down the street, or do it from your home! Les­son: don’t be a mo­ron.

Sec­ond, these guys PRE­VI­OUS­LY SUED YELP. Um­mm, okay, lets think about this. You sue Yelp. Do you think Yelp would con­tin­ue re­ward­ing you?

Lets use a metaphor. Say, I own a shop that makes cakes. You buy a cake, and then sue me be­cause, say, it was dif­fer­ent than the cake you ex­pect­ed. Then, a few weeks lat­er, you come in­to my cake store and ask if we would want to sell your cakes to the pub­lic. If it were my cake store, I would think, “F YOU, I just spent a bazil­lion dol­lars fight­ing off the lawyers — and now you want me to help make YOU MON­EY?”.

Con­clu­sion: if you think you might want to work with some­one in the fu­ture, then try your gosh darn hard­est to not sue them.

Re­mem­ber, don’t think that these com­pa­nies have ob­jec­tive al­go­rithms. They don’t. It’s their own prop­er­ty, their own for­mu­la. You’re just us­ing it be­cause it’s help­ful. You’re prob­a­bly not even pay­ing for it. They can do what­ev­er they want. As they say: “if you’re not the client, you’re the prod­uct.” Which are you? Which do you want to be?