In a legal battle that illustrates the difficulties home service professionals have with online review sites, the jury in a closely watched negative online review case reached a split verdict after nearly nine hours of deliberation. (See "Jury Splits Its Verdicts in Negative Online Review Case."). No damages were awarded to either side, but the ruling was considered a moral victory for the contractor that sued the homeowner for remarks posted on several online review sites. The jury found the remarks defamatory.

"To be not called a criminal is good," the Washington-based contractor, Christopher Dietz, stated.

Meanwhile, Angie's List—a pay-to-play review site that rates the performance of home and health service providers—recently posted $33 million in losses. In "Pros' Payments Help Angie's List Post $2.8 Million 4Q Profit," Remodeling reported:

Angie's List announced today its net profit rose 15.3% in 2013's fourth quarter from the year-earlier period to reach $2.8 million. ... Despite the fourth-quarter gains, for all 2013 Angie's List recorded a net loss of $33 million. That's an improvement from 2012's net loss of $52.9 million, but it also means that the service has racked up at least seven consecutive years of net losses, with total losses of over $210 million.

One reader suggested that the best way to fight unfair business practices through Angie's List would be to ignore it—thus further starving pay-to-play site of the funds it needs to stay alive. Do you agree? Should remodelers boycott Angie's List? Would that provide a killing blow? Or does Angie's List deserve to live because it helps customers distinguish good companies from fly-by-night operators?  Read more and add to the conversation.