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Review site Yelp battles against extortion claims

From AP:

The latest protest among businesses who for years have complained that Yelp was extorting them by raising or dropping ratings depending on whether they advertised with the Web’s most popular review site.

Yelp has persistently denied those claims on its Web site, in court and at every opportunity when the question is put publicly to the company. It recently got a federal appeals court to throw out a lawsuit alleging the extortion…

…Yelp says, its uses an algorithm to weed out fake reviews submitted by business owners, relatives and friends that is often misunderstood. The automated removal programs accidentally erase many positive reviews written by legitimate customers.

via Review site Yelp battles against extortion claims.

Everywhere I go I find dentists who are unhappy with Yelp. The complaints vary but one of the most persistent is the issue mentioned in the linked article where Yelp “filters” out good reviews and leaves the bad ones.

So far the courts have sided with Yelp but it does seem there is an underlying issue of fairness and transparency that needs to be addressed. Personally I like user reviews and I want bad dentists exposed however as it stands now the system is fraught with corruption.

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