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Yelp! A class-action suit?

Written on
Mar 19, 2010 
Author
Bob  |

outlawsmall.jpgADOTAS – One of three civil suits against Yelp filed in the California Superior Court is by Boris Levitt, the owner of a San Francisco furniture-restoration company. He alleges that Yelp retaliates against businesses that don’t choose to advertise by negatively skewing their ratings and reviews on the site. The conflict gained publicity when the East Bay Express published an article claiming that Yelp offered to hide negative customer reviews for businesses in exchange for advertising.

According to The Wall Street Journal report on the matter, Mr. Levitt said, “Yelp misleads the public by manipulation of average ratings,” he claims to have kept records to show that some positive reviews about his furniture company disappeared after he declined to advertise on Yelp. “If they hadn’t changed my average rating by deleting my reviews, I would have more business.”

Yelp’s Chief Executive, Jeremy Stoppelman, denies the charges—blaming them partly on businesses misunderstandings about Yelp’s rating system and lawyers’ desires to spur litigation.

Two other suits seeking class-action status on behalf of small businesses have followed. One was filed on March 3 by a San Diego spa, and one on Feb. 24 by a Long Beach animal hospital. A lawyer representing the plaintiff in the San Diego spa suit, Jared Beck, said it has been joined by nine other plaintiffs, in a case that alleges Yelp violated California laws against attempted extortion and unfair competition, among other things.

“The conduct is an offer to manipulate content in exchange for payment. That is plain and simple,” Beck he said. But Yelp’s Stoppelman counters by stating Yelp sales agents never offer to improve a company’s online ratings and reviews if they choose to advertise. The WSJ quotes Stoppelman saying, “If you could garner a top review on Yelp simply by emailing people you knew would review you favorably, that would render the site useless.”





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Reader Comments.

I also own a family business in San Diego and any good reviews on our restaurant were pulled after one day then we were slandered by a person accusing us of being racist because we did not call her about selling her chili at our restaurant. Which is far far from the truth and it has damaged our business.
how do we get on this class action suit.
see my e-mail address

Posted by Sandy Borndale | 10:41 am on March 26, 2010.

They have been the worst!!! all the good reviews are never posted, only the one and only bad one…

once we decided not to go ahead with advertising.

I don’t understand how they are allowed to have business in the internet world…

Posted by lina h. | 7:01 pm on May 18, 2010.

I support any lawsuit against Yelp for any reason. They are the internet version of Jerry Springer. They do not even allow rebuttals for stupid reviews.

Posted by Marcie | 2:00 pm on September 8, 2010.

I agree, it was not quite fair from their side. Really, having business in the internet is rather doubtful nowadays.
So sad about the case with Sandy Borndale. I got a neighbour who had similar situation. I hope everything will turn to the better and people will start respecting each other.

Posted by S.E.Filecraft | 8:10 am on November 10, 2010.

Yelp is total scum. Anyone who has used it for more than a few days, and is not out of touch with reality, you know.

Those who are out of touch with reality can be readily identified – put a little cry of “elite” badge next to their name in the exams.

Posted by scraps | 12:54 pm on December 4, 2010.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppleman has just released a passionate statement denying all wrongdoing on Yelp’s part, addressing a class action lawsuit …

Posted by Watch Online Movies Free | 1:16 pm on January 15, 2011.

I would like to join the class action suit against YELP. Here’s the letter I just wrote and tried to send to them (which incidently they blocked apparently due to “word count.”)

Mike W.’s review of Deborah Bryon Ph.D in Denver is a misrepresentation. Mike W was not a client. No money ever exchanged hands so he technically did not have “first hand consumer experience.” “Seeing her was ….a waste of money” is also false. Since Mike W. never employed me for my services these statement are not factually correct. Mike W’s review violates your “Terms of Service.” Your immediate response to these misrepresentations is appreciated.

Posted by Deborah Bryon | 7:10 pm on November 5, 2011.

i have been dealing with the bad reviews starting in Jan and now it making me loose business bad i have the people i clean to go and leave reviews and they don’t stay up the a whole day i need to be in this law suit .i have paper work of the review bieng filter and i have be that writen over and over and it still get filter. i am a father and husband of a wife and 3 kids please help file the suit please

Posted by Daryl taylor | 2:34 pm on July 11, 2012.

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