Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Please click for more information, or scroll down to pass the ad, or Close Ad.
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Eliminate costly downtime!
Find out how with Free White Paper
& enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
Small Business
24/7/365 Network Uptime
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Lawsuit Gets Yelp To Open Reviews, Curb Advertisers
Lawsuit Gets Yelp To Open Reviews, Curb Advertisers

By Barry Levine
April 6, 2010 1:44PM

    Bookmark and Share
Prompted by a lawsuit alleging extortion, Yelp will let users see all reviews of local businesses. Yelp will also stop advertisers from posting favorite reviews at the top of a page. Yelp, which carries local reviews, says it filters out fake reviews but will open them all to viewers. An analyst said the move should raise Yelp's level of trust.
 



Yelp, which helps visitors find local businesses through user reviews, is taking steps to address criticisms by small businesses -- and to respond to a lawsuit that alleges extortion. The site said Monday that it will allow users to see reviews the site has filtered out, and advertisers can no longer post their favorite review at the top of a page.

These changes, wrote cofounder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman Monday on his company's blog, "reinforce" the trust that led 31 million consumers to visit the site last month to find a "great local business." The changes, he said, "make it even more clear that Yelp treats review content equally for all businesses, with no connection between advertising and reviews."

'An Extortion Scheme'

A key incentive behind the changes is a class-action suit filed in February in a California federal court, alleging that Yelp, according to the plaintiff, "runs an extortion scheme in which the company's employees call businesses demanding monthly payments, in the guise of 'advertising contracts,' in exchange for removing or modifying negative reviews appearing on the site."

The plaintiff, a veterinary hospital in Long Beach, Calif., said it asked Yelp to remove "a false and defamatory review," but the site refused. Instead, the hospital said, the company's sales people kept demanding $300 a month in exchange "for hiding or removing the negative review." The hospital also said similar practices by the site relating to other businesses have been documented in news stories.

Yelp said the complaints were false.

The company said its filter uses a secret algorithm to move users' reviews from their own user pages onto business pages, in order to filter out fake reviews. Yelp said it continually tunes the filter to establish which of the registered users, who are the only ones allowed to post reviews, are the most trusted and therefore worthy of being shown with the business listing.

'Lift the Veil'

But now users can click a link to "lift the veil on our review filter," as Stoppelman wrote, to see all submitted reviews. He added this can help them see that the filter often helps "protect one business from malicious reviews that might stem from a competitor."

The company also said that the "Favorite Review" feature, although clearly labeled as part of an ad, "led some people to the wrong conclusions about whether businesses could control the review content on their page" -- which, it said, they can't.

Yelp, founded in 2004, focuses on helping people find local businesses such as restaurants, dentists, hair stylists, and mechanics. "Yelpers" have written more than 10 million local reviews, and businesses can post offers, photos and messages to customers. The site makes money by selling ads to local businesses.

Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for consumer technology at the NPD Group, said that, "in general, transparency should be the mantra for any site with reviews and advertising," since it can "raise the level of trust Yelp has with its visitors."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



APC has an established a reputation for solid products that virtually pay for themselves upon installation. Who has time to spend worrying about system downtime? APC makes it easy for you to focus on business growth instead of business downtime with reliable data center systems and IT solutions. Learn more here.


 Small Business
1.   Politics Test Silicon Valley, Russia
2.   Red Hat Unveils OpenShift Marketplace
3.   Clinton Calls for More Tech Training
4.   Data Compilers Peg Consumers
5.   Twitter Unveils New Design


advertisement
High Cost of Great Customer Service
Balancing profit goals, service needs.
Average Rating:
Politics Test Silicon Valley, Russia
Financial ties are being slowed down.
Average Rating:
Clinton Calls for More Tech Training
Wants Silicon Valley firms to step up.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
IBM Offers Security, Disaster Recovery as SoftLayer Service
New disaster recovery and security services for SoftLayer clients are being added by IBM. Big Blue said the new capabilities will speed cloud adoption by alleviating concern over business continuity.
 
How To Beat the Heartbleed Bug
Heartbleed headlines continue as IT admins scramble for answers no one has. Early reports of stolen personal data, including 900 social insurance numbers in Canada, are starting to trickle in.
 
After Heartbleed, OpenSSL Calls for More Support
The president of the OpenSSL Foundation says more support is needed from companies and governments that use its software so that it can better spot and fix flawed pieces of code such as Heartbleed.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Vaio Fit 11A Battery Danger Forces Recall by Sony
Using a Sony Vaio Fit 11A laptop? It's time to send it back to Sony. In fact, Sony is encouraging people to stop using the laptop after several reports of its Panasonic battery overheating.
 
Continued Drop in Global PC Shipments Slows
Worldwide shipments of PCs fell during the first three months of the year, but the global slump in PC demand may be easing, with a considerable slowdown from last year's drops.
 
Google Glass Finds a Home in Medical Education, Practice
Google Glass may find its first markets in verticals in which hands-free access to data is a boon. Medicine is among the most prominent of those, as seen in a number of Glass experiments under way.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Amazon 3D Smartphone Pics Leaked
E-commerce giant Amazon is reportedly set to launch a smartphone after years of development. Photos of the phone, which may feature a unique 3D interface, were leaked by tech pub BGR.
 
Zebra Tech Buys Motorola Enterprise for $3.45B
Weeks after Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility’s assets from Google for $2.91 billion, Zebra Technologies is throwing down $3.45 billion for Motorola’s Enterprise business in an all-cash deal.
 
CTIA Caves, Volunteers Kill Switch Plan
After bucking against the concept of a smartphone kill switch, the CTIA just announced the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” to thwart smartphone thefts in the U.S.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | Small Business | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters | XML/RSS Feed

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.