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No business promotion allowed here, but can customers post reviews?

Original post made by Chris Zaharias, Crescent Park, on Jan 10, 2014

I know the Terms of Service for the site and Town Square Forum prohibit posts that promote a business, but can someone at PAOnline tell me whether or not its OK to post a positive or negative review of a PA-based business?

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Comments (2)

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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 10, 2014 at 10:46 am

I recall both positive and negative reviews being censored from this forum in the past. I suppose that is understandable. Really hard to distinguish a positive review from a business trying for free advertising. Anonymous negative reviews can easily be slander from competing businesses. I suppose if you're willing to post your verified real name and address with the review, it might not get censored.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill Johnson
publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Jan 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Bill Johnson is a registered user.

This is a difficult question, because many factors are at work. We are more lenient about allowing limited positive or negative comments about a business when they are made in connection with a news story or related to a public issue. We will generally delete any criticism of a business that is based on a personal experience because such comments are impossible to verify and can be extremely harmful to the business. It is also a favorite tactic for a competitor to post a horror story with the goal of harming another business. Similarly, as "resident" suggests above, positive comments about a business can also be problematic since they may be from the business owner not a real customer.

Given the availability of other sites to post reviews about businesses, including our own affiliate, we don't feel that Town Square is the right venue for comments on local businesses.

A good example of when we will be more likely to keep up comments about a business is when we reported on University Art's decision to move from Palo Alto or the speculation about the future of Shady Lane.

Hope this helps a bit. Like all editing on Town Square, it's subjective and will vary depending on who on our staff is moderating at any given time.

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