IS YELP EXTORTING BUSINESSES? SOME OWNERS SAY SO
When you think of extortion, you probably don’t imagine a billion-dollar company from Silicon Valley, yet that’s exactly what many small businesses across the country are claiming the review company Yelp is doing. Many organizations just like ours rely on reviews as a way for people to obtain firsthand, word-of-mouth information. But what if the medium used to present this information is manipulated? In fact, many businesses and users argue that Yelp’s content is manipulated.
display praise, Yelp allegedly requires payment for their advertising services.
The accusations started in 2014 with the class action suit Levitt v. Yelp, which resulted in an investigation by the FTC. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found
Google, Avvo, and other places that post reviews mostly filter comments by date so you can see the most recent observations about local businesses. Yelp, on the other hand, filters reviews by an algorithm that assesses their reliability. On the surface, this sounds like a great idea, but in practice, many owners are crying foul.
no extortion or wrongdoing by Yelp and dismissed the case, and the FTC closed the investigation without taking action. However, not everyone was convinced the investigation was accurate. Many businesses still make claims of being strong- armed by Yelp to this day. Whether Yelp is extorting small businesses or not, we’re thankful for your reviews. Our firm takes great pride in the work we do serving our community, and we look forward to continuing that for years to come.
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Multiple business owners have gone on record stating that Yelp will broadcast negative reviews instead of positive ones. To
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