This is a tough one.
Hard to see how a Yelp salesperson calling and trying to sell a company a listing won’t play up the ability to minimize (or delete) negative reviews that the company says are bogus, given that Yelp deletes bogus reviews.
And easy to see how the target company might regard this as a form of extortion, especially if Yelp won’t get around to deleting the reviews unless the company buys an ad.
On the other hand, how is Yelp supposed to be useful (and support itself) if companies make such a huge stink about negative reviews?
Nine small businesses have joined a lawsuit accusing local business review start-up Yelp Inc. of extortion and fraudulent business practices…
The original plaintiff in the putative class action suit, a veterinary hospital in Long Beach, Calif., said it had asked Yelp to remove a negative consumer review that violated Yelp’s site guidelines. According to the complaint, San Francisco-based Yelp initially removed the review but it reappeared and Yelp later declined to remove it and other negative reviews. The suit alleges that Yelp’s sales representatives repeatedly contacted the hospital offering to hide any negative reviews if it bought advertising from Yelp.