Yelp COO Tells Troops To Keep A Thick Skin After Second Extortion Lawsuit (Leaked Memo)

Geoff Donaker

Reviews site Yelp was sued again yesterday for extortion, its second such lawsuit in the last two weeks. Both cases allege that Yelp rewards its advertisers with positive treatment and punishes companies that don’t advertise on its site.

CEO Jeremy Stoppelman called the new “copy cat” claims “meritless” in a blog post, just as he brushed off the first suit last week.

And yesterday, Yelp COO Geoff Donaker also sent out an all-hands memo to the troops, which we’ve obtained. The memo reminds Yelpers to keep a thick skin and to avoid talking to the press. Here’s the memo:

Hello again team –

Remember when, at yesterday’s all-hands meeting, I predicted that we would get more spurious lawsuits and the tough press that goes with it? Well, turns out I was right sooner than expected. Today another lawyer filed a copycat “class action” suit in what appears to be a race to see which lawyer can be first in line. Good times.

So, at the risk of redundancy…
We still only sell advertising, never adding or removing reviews
We are fighting these allegations and have all confidence that we’ll be vindicated
We’ll all continue to need thick skin, since antagonists are a price of success (as Reggie Jackson said: “nobodies don’t get booed”)
Over the last month your hard work helped 30 million consumers find a great local business. Thanks for continuing to focus on them and not the noise from the sidelines.

Onward and upward,


PS: Background reading: Jeremy’s latest blog post and a related Q&A with BusinessWeek

PPS: We’ve had a report or two of reporters trying to contact sales people or other employees directly. As usual, if you receive an inquiry from a reporter, please refer them to Vince, Stephanie or Chantelle at [email protected]

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