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Yelp Cleared of Extortion But Not Proven Innocent of Bad Behavior

yelp in hell

Yelp has been cleared of extortion charges in a California Appeals Court, but many are still leery of the ethics involved with Yelp’s practices. Plaintiffs charged that Yelp threatened to pull positive reviews for businesses that would not buy ads. The class action suit that originated in 2010 was dismissed, but its less than attractive alleged practices might well be going on; the court had stringent rules in place to protect ethical businesses, and the ruling didn’t mean that such behavior wasn’t morally disgusting, just that it didn’t rise to the level of extortion in this case.

For instance the plaintiffs could not manage to prove that they somehow had the right to those positive reviews when the reviews were generated in Yelp. They also couldn’t establish that Yelp had no right to ask the companies buy ads. Despite winning the case, some questions about Yelp remain.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. JamesLewis2

    September 4, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Yelp is here to stay and businesses need to stop wasting money through lawsuits and begin using the site in a effective manner for their business benefit. I’m not a fan of yelp but I understand that this is where many of my customers are so I have to participate. Yelp just issued a new round of consumer alerts today (http://www.webpronews.com/yelp-busts-businesses-by-using-their-private-messages-as-evidence-of-fake-reviews-2014-09). I don’t understand why businesses do stuff like that, it is common sense that Yelp will monitor their internal messaging for this behavior. Why don’t businesses just ask their customers for reviews, give out post cards, display the stickers or use a solution like http://thereviewsolution.com/, http://business.trustpilot.com/ or https://www.demandforce.com/ there are so many ways of generating reviews online these days, why go black hat and violate their TOS?

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