This is a bit long, please bear with me.
We're running a website where users can post reviews of business within our niche. It's a national site with over 5000 UK businesses listed and quite a lot of reviews. We rank very well in search engines and I believe we are getting pretty much 100% of available traffic, i.e. whoever wants to review a business within the niche will end up on our site. The volume of traffic is not fantastic in total numbers though, just in 3 digits a day.
We are working hard to ensure all reviews come from genuine clients of reviewed businesses. All reviews and comments are manually checked and approved. This is quite time consuming.
We run PPC ads on the site. The problem is, the income from the site is very low. We tried re-organising the ads to avoid banner blindness and there perhaps is a potential in further improvements but we need much higher income to make it worthwile.
We get approached by businesses with negative reviews with requests to be removed from the directory or have some of the negative reviews removed. We double check the reviews and most of the time keep them there. We get letters from lawyers but have never been taken to court in the last 4 years.
I had an idea yesterday. We wouldn't remove just negative reviews for money, I don't think it's morally right. However, if a business paid us a fee and we removed ALL details of the company from the directory (or ALL reviews, positive and negative), could that be considered morally right? Some businesses claim they lost tens of thousands of pounds in potential business with clients who read the reviews... would they be willing to pay a fee of e.g. £500 to be removed from the directory so that there will be no reviews any more? Can you see any potential legal issues there? Thanks.