Controversial review site Yelp has found itself in the midst of yet another lawsuit, but this time, the San Francisco-based corporation is the plaintiff rather than the defendant. According to The Verge, Yelp filed suit last week against a company calling itself Yelp Director for numerous alleged offenses including trademark infringement, false advertising, and unfair competition, saying that it "undermines [Yelp's] integrity by allowing restaurants to post fake positive reviews and bury negative ones."
Yelp Director claimed that it "invented a software" that would "proactively generate a large number of 4 and 5 star reviews from [restaurant] customers in a way that makes them stick to the front page of Yelp," while simultaneously filtering out any three-star or below reviews. According to a recent post on Yelp's official blog, what Yelp Director actually did was "bombard their clients’ customers with surveys. Customers that respond favorably, and agree to post a review, are entered in a drawing for gift cards in an effort to deceptively boost their clients’ reputations."
Many restaurants have accused Yelp of manipulating reviews and changing ratings depending on whether or not they purchased advertising with the review site, but a Federal Trade Commission investigation recently concluded that there was no wrongdoing on Yelp's part. (Yelp has dismissed said accusers as "conspiracy theorists.") However, a California court ruled last year that it was well within the company's right to do so if they so choose.