The Miami New Times has a follow up to the Yelp extortion case we first heard about last month. Nine new business owners from across the country have joined the class action lawsuit against the SF-based internet review site, including a Bakery in Chicago, a restaurant in Washington D.C., and a spa in Los Angeles.
All of the plaintiffs claim that they were contacted by Yelp for ad sales in exchange for erasing unfavorable reviews from their pages. In some cases negative reviews were allegedly added after sales offers were declined. A few of the plaintiffs also note that after they declined ad purchases, "strong-arm techniques were employed" by Yelp.
The Florida lawyer leading the case, Jared Beck, says:
"Since filing the complaint we have been inundated with calls and emails from small businesses around the country... Many of them asked us what they can do to actively stand up and join the fight against Yelp."As you may recall, the original case was filed by a California veterinarian, who is still on board. Yelp has hired two lawyers, Michael Rhodes and Sarah Boot, to defend itself. In regards to the allegations, they have already said that negative reviews are sometimes deleted "by and algorithm".
·Yelp Lawsuit Widens: From Washington to Chicago to L.A., Plaintiffs Charge Extortion [Miami New Times]
·Complaints Against Yelp’s “Extortion” Practices Grow Louder [Tech Crunch]
·All Yelp Extortion Case Coverage on Eater [-EN-]