These allegations seem both too blatant and too ridiculous to be true. But it’s not the first time they’ve been levied.
A class action suit was filed in Los Angeles federal court alleging that Yelp, “under the guise of” advertising contracts, demanded money in exchange for removing or modifying negative reviews on its site.
The “Yelp Class Action Website” (set up by the plaintiffs’ firms pursuing the litigation) cites to previous stories of similar behaviour reported by The Wall Street Journal and others. While the Web site labels Yelp’s alleged practices “extortion,” the actual allegations charge unfair business practices.
It will be interesting to see how this one shakes out — as TechCrunch noted, Yelp has only had to defend prior allegations in the court of public opinion. This time (pending a quick settlement) they’ll have to actually testify and provide documents relating to their policies and procedures.
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