Pay it Forward: Ban Yelp from Search Engines until they stop their harmful practices. Yelp is destroying small businesses. Help small businesses succeed, and you will help all economies prosper.
Pay it Forward: Ban Yelp from Search Engines until they stop their harmful practices. Yelp is destroying small businesses. Help small businesses succeed, and you will help all economies prosper.
I have no problem at all with legitimate reviews of a business, but Yelp is not interested in the truth. They are predatory with a clear conflict of interest.
My business, income, and my reputation have been damaged by the strong arm tactics of Yelp, as I have refused to pay them to 'fix' my problem of a one star rating, which they caused in order to profit from me paying them to 'fix' it, while 'filtering' my legitimate five star reviews.
I have a defamatory false negative one star review posted on my business Yelp listing, while all of the legitimate five star reviews from my clients are 'filtered' by Yelp.
I am not the only business and person affected by Yelp. Small business owners, employees, and the public are harmed everywhere by Yelp. See the articles, websites, and the class action lawsuits by business owners against Yelp.
Update 11 September 2019
Could it get any worse? Where is the justice for Yelp victims? Help the honest hard working people and the victims of extortion. Pay it Forward: Ban Yelp from Google and all Search Engines until they stop filtering legitimate positive reviews and stop allowing false reviews to appear on business listings. Thank you!
Groupon may pursue deal with online-review company Yelp
Update 12 December 2018
I have no idea why this petition was closed. It is re-opened now.
Please sign it, and sign my other petition here:
'Where The Film Stands – Dec 2018
Posted on December 10, 2018
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Let us start off by saying we can’t thank you enough for your continued support of Billion Dollar Bully and it’s message. We apologize we haven’t been on top of releasing updates. Going forward, we’re going to be better about updating everyone!
Today’s update is regarding some things we’ve been dealing with for a bit of time. Things we weren’t sure we should share with the public. Since this isn’t just our fight, we decided it would be a good idea to share with you all what’s been going on behind the scenes lately.
As we’ve mentioned previously, Billion Dollar Bully is fully finished! Its been seen during several private screenings, and has been very well received. We’re currently sitting on several distribution offers that will help Billion Dollar Bully be seen by a very wide audience. And for that, we’re so excited! The thing is, we can’t sign any distribution deal. Why? Well, because in order to sign a distribution deal a film must have insurance. We posted a blog here about the process we went through just to be approved for insurance. While we have been approved, insurance has not yet been purchased and we will explain why.
As we came to learn, there’s an industry standard for the price of insurance for documentaries. Billion Dollar Bully was quoted an insurance number that was 8x that of a normal insurance cost! A big blow to a film that’s been made on a limited budget. Some distributors will take a film and put money upfront to pay any additional costs. Given that this is our first film and we don’t have any “industry connections,” this has not been our case. All distribution companies are requiring that we figure out a way to finance the insurance first. We’ve had many uphill battles completing the film, so we did what we’ve done before. We got to work! We starting looking for ways to secure the insurance. And as we fought to complete the last battle to ensure Billion Dollar Bully was released, strange things started happening…
A few sales agents reached out to us, several times, wanting to see the film. They claimed Elon Musk was very interested in seeing the film, and possibly interested in buying it. At first, an exciting prospect. But on closer inspection we realized that Jeremy Stoppleman, CEO and founder of Yelp, and Elon Musk go way back. Together, they were part of the “PayPal Mafia”. And since Elon Musk isn’t in the movie buying business, as far as we’re aware, and he and Mr. Stoppleman are what we can only assume are friends, it seemed strange.
And then? Our emails got hacked. Several times.
People started reaching out to us claiming they could help secure the insurance. And after countless wasted hours, we’d find out they were somehow connected to Yelp. Current and former employees of Yelp reached out to us; some of them admitted they were with Yelp, and some would try to hide the information. It took a bit of digging on our end to figure out who these people were. There was rabbit hole after rabbit hole.
The truth has always been, and remains the truth today, that Yelp is a billion dollar company that knows it has something to hide. It knows that what they’re hiding could cost them a billion dollars. And so, our fight to complete and release the film has been an uphill battle. We want you to know that we aren’t giving up and that we’re out here getting very close to securing insurance for the film and signing that hard won distribution to deal.
Billion Dollar Bully WILL be seen. It NEEDS to be seen. Yelp continues to abuse their very own consumers! Ben Kohn recently reached out with a lovely graph that shows reviewers for his business being filtered, but those same reviewers leaving other companies reviews and their review being considered legitimate. Here’s a video you can watch of him showing his ad campaign and what he did (and didn’t) get out of it.
Your continued support is more appreciated than you know! We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season with those you love.
Mellissa and Kaylie'
Update 2 December 2018
YELP Insider Activity (SEC Form 4)
Insider Trades of STOPPELMAN JEREMY
YELP INC (0001345016)
Marketscreener: YELP INC (YELP)
Yelp Inc. Common Stock (YELP) Quote & Summary Data
Investor Alert: Kaplan Fox Investigates Yelp Inc.
By PR Newswire, November 09, 2018, 10:17:00 AM EDT
Update 16 August 2018
"YELP REPORTS SECOND QUARTER 2018 FINANCIAL RESULTS
Reports Net Revenue of $235 Million, Net Income of $11 Million and Adjusted EBITDA of $47 Million
Advertising Revenue Growth Accelerates to 21% over Second Quarter 2017
Record Paying Advertising Account Growth of 17,000 from First Quarter 2018
Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP), the company that connects people with great local businesses, today posted its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2018 in the Q2 2018 Shareholder Letter on its Investor Relations website at www.yelp-ir.com
"Second quarter results were once again driven by strong revenue growth in our core Advertising business," said Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp's co-founder and chief executive officer. "We completed the transition to selling non-term local advertising in the quarter, which helped deliver record advertising account additions. Our growth initiatives elsewhere also produced encouraging results."
Update 7 July 2018
Posted on July 2, 2018
We hope you’re all enjoying your summer. We have an update! Our agent set up a buyer’s screening that took place a couple of weeks ago in Hollywood. There were buyers and local business owners who attended the screening. It was a very exciting day because it put us one step closer to getting Billion Dollar in front of a big audience. Thanks to everyone who came out to see the film!
After the screening took place, our agent sent a screeners link of Billion Dollar Bully to lots of different buyers who didn’t attend the screening. We are now in the process of waiting for them to all watch the film. We are excited that we have already received expressed interest from different buyers who have had the chance to see it. So, at this point we are relying on our agent to try and secure the best deal that would allow the widest audience possible to see the film. We want Billion Dollar Bully to be seen by millions of people so that it can make a huge impact!
We can’t tell you how excited we are to have this film released! We know this process has been a long one and that every day that goes by countless business owners are victimized by Yelp. We promise you that we are working hard towards the release of our film that we hope will make a difference in the way yelp does business.
As always, we will continue to update you as we receive updates. We can’t thank you enough for your continued support of us and of Billion Dollar Bully!"
Update 4 June 2018
Yelp Reports First Quarter 2018 Financial Results
By Business Wire, May 10, 2018, 04:05:00 PM EDT
"Reports Revenue of $223 Million, Net Loss of ($2) Million and Adjusted EBITDA of $33 Million
Advertising Revenue Increases 20% Over First Quarter 2017
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP), the company that connects people with great local businesses, today posted its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018 in the Q1'18 Letter to Shareholders on its Investor Relations website at www.yelp-ir.com
"We had a great start to 2018, accelerating advertising revenue growth and attracting a record number of new advertisers in the first quarter," said Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp's co-founder and chief executive officer. "The expansion of our non-term advertising product is showing promising results and we are raising our full-year revenue and adjusted EBITDA outlook. We are excited to issue our inaugural Shareholder Letter in which we've outlined our strategy and financial results."
FINAL DEADLINE NOTICE: The Schall Law Firm Announces the Filing of a Securities Class Action Lawsuit Against Yelp, Inc. and Reminds Investors With Losses to Contact the Firm
By AccessWire, March 17, 2018, 07:55:00 AM EDT
"LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / March 17, 2018 /The Schall Law Firm, a national shareholder rights litigation firm, announces the filing of a class action lawsuit against Yelp, Inc. ("Yelp" or the "Company") (NYSE: YELP) for violations of §§10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission."..
"The class, in this case, has not yet been certified, and until certification occurs, you are not represented by an attorney. If you choose to take no action, you can remain an absent class member.
According to the lawsuit, the Company issued materially false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose: (1) Yelp's transition from a Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions to a Cost-Per-Click model in FY2016 created a distinct cohort of local advertisers that would reach the end of their contracts during the first part of FY2017; (2) new customers that signed on with Yelp under the Cost-Per-Click pricing model had lower retention rates because the customers did not effectively compete with Yelp's more established customers; and (3) as a result of the lower retention rates, Yelp was not on track to achieve its financial guidance or results during the Class Period. When the truth was revealed to the investing public, shares of the Company fell sharply."..
Update 11 March 2018
Billion Dollar Bully
Los Angeles Screening
Hi everybody! Quick announcement from the BDB team:
We will be holding a private screening of Billion Dollar Bully in Los Angeles this spring for distributors. There will be a limited number of extra tickets and we would love to invite some business owners to attend the screening!
We are waiting for our agent to get back to us with the exact date, but it will likely be in early April. If you live in the LA area and are interested in attending the screening, please send us an email from your business account, and we will see what we can do to get you tickets. It will be held midweek around lunchtime.
We are excited to once again be sharing this film and can’t wait for this to lead to a larger, public release!
Update 29 November, 2017
Billion Dollar Bully
Posted on November 27, 2017
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We hope you’re enjoying the holiday season. We’d like to share additional Billion Dollar Bully updates with you! To be honest, we have been reluctant to release too much information on the film. However, we want to be as transparent with our supporters as possible. The reasoning behind not wanting to be too candid on what’s happening behind-the-scenes is simple. We know that the powers-that-be at Yelp are closely monitoring the progression of this film (and are likely signed up to receive emails about these posts – in which case, Hi, Yelp Peeps!).
As we saw during the Kickstarter campaign, Yelp execs will take small bits of information and manipulate it to misconstrue facts and discredit the film in whichever way they can.
It was mildly amusing to hear Vince Sollitto say in this interview that Kaylie Milliken was having a hard time finding business owners who have been hurt by Yelp (29:15), which is why the film is taking so long to make. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, it took twice as long to finish filming because we were continuously having business owners reach out to us (and still do!), wanting to share their story with us.
With that being said, we feel as though we owe it to all the film’s supporters to share as much as we can. We want you to know the film is not sitting around, forgotten about… and that we most definitely have NOT been silenced by Yelp! Quite the opposite, in fact. We know it seems like it’s taken us a very long time to complete the film. That’s because it has!
We had no idea the pandora’s box we would open when we started this journey investigating Yelp. In essence, we had an overwhelming response from business owners wanting to tell their stories, it took far more time than we expected to investigate different stories, we’ve had a steep learning curve being first time filmmakers and we were completing the film on a shoestring budget. BUT we’re at the end now, with an explosive film filled with brave business owners sharing their stories, a top notch agent representing the film and an audience that we desperately want to see the movie!
So, what has been happening behind the scenes lately? A lot!
Getting Billion Dollar Bully insured! Let us share a little bit of information regarding the process of getting films insured. All films require insurance before they can be seen publicly. It’s called E&O (Errors and Omissions) Insurance. It protects the filmmakers against lawsuits for a gamut of issues. Before a film can be insured, an attorney needs to write a letter stating that they believe the film falls within the law of these many issues, and why they believe that. Most film festivals will not take a film without it being insured, and no distributor will take a film without it being insured. Most films take 3 – 5 days to insure and cost about $5000. Unfortunately, that was not the case for Billion Dollar Bully!
Once the film was ready, we began working on getting Billion Dollar Bully insured in May of 2016. It took 5 months! The film was finally insured in October. The price tag of the insurance was FAR above the $5000.00 normal insurance price tag! It took several law firms viewing the film, writing various letters in our favor that stated Yelp has no grounds to sue us, and a few of the insurance companies to view the film themselves before we got approved. At first, we were so frustrated by all of this. Then, we realized that the reason the film took so long and was so expensive to insure, is because brave business owners expose Yelp’s true business practices!
During the 5 months it took to get insurance, we spent time applying to various film festivals and tweaking a lot of the technical aspects in the film. At this point, we are now waiting to hear back from a few entities and are working with our agent to ensure the film is seen by the widest audience possible. We believe this is the only way to stop Yelp’s insidious practices!
We thank you if you made it through this lengthy blog post and we promise to pass on updates as we receive them. Billion Dollar Bully will be released soon and together we will change the way Yelp does business!"
Updated 24 August 2017.
Billion Dollar Bully
August 7 at 11:02am ·
Hi everyone! We wanted to give you some additional information now that we're able to. We are excited to share that The Gersh Agency is representing "Billion Dollar Bully." The film is finished and as such, they are now sharing it with various film buyers. We are looking for the best path to distribution to ensure this film is widely seen. At the advice of our agent, we pulled the film from the festival due to the fact that many purchasers require that the film has not previously been seen by a public audience.
We understand the process of making films is long and arduous and we can't wait to reach that finish line! We are eagerly awaiting to hear next steps from our agent.
As always, we are so appreciative of your support. Please feel free to email us if you have any questions.
Updated 4 April 2017.
From Prost Films.
World Premiere at SF DocFest
Posted on March 22, 2017
We are thrilled to announce that ‘Billion Dollar Bully’ will be premiering at DOCFEST: SF Documentary Festival! The film festival runs June 1st – 15th in San Francisco. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we know exactly which dates, time, and theater you can see BDB.
More news to soon follow! We expect to be hearing from other organizations in the next 2 – 3 months.
Updated 12 February 2017
The Billion Dollar Bully Documentary Film is scheduled to be released soon, after being in production for years. Many people have suffered at the hands of Yelp for years. It's time for this to stop. Support this petition and the Billion Dollar Bully Documentary Film.
Project Update: February 2017
Posted on February 5, 2017
Happy New Year to all! We have had our noses to the grind, finally getting close to wrapping up the editing. We are about one week away from “picture lock.”
Picture lock means that we are no longer moving scenes, restructuring, or adding/removing dialogue. The music composer will then step in and work his magic.
A sound mixer will also take the film and do his/her best to balance out any and all audio issues, and a color corrector will balance out the different “tones” that each shot brings in. (For a quick lesson on what color correction is, click here.)
Since we used two different cameras at every shoot, each camera had its own tone. Those tones now need balancing in order to provide a cohesive “look” to the film.
At this point, even before all of these tasks are completed, we can now start submitting the film to various film festivals and distributors. We will let you know when and where you can screen the film!
Keep in mind that we are continuing to watch what is happening with Yelp! and its company. Despite being in picture lock, we can add any final notes at the end of the film should something noteworthy occur after the film’s finalization.
Since we are well aware that the powers-that-be at Yelp! have subscribed to this email list, we would like to send a quick message: we would love to give you the opportunity to provide your voice to this work and clarify misconceptions you think we may have.
Additionally, we have noticed that Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp!, has been selling off millions of dollars’ worth of stock lately. We are very much looking forward to reading the quarterly report next week, and learn of any significant changes coming down Yelp’s pipeline.
Updated 27 July 2016
Billion Dollar Bully
An investigative documentary examining the business practices of Yelp.
“BILLION DOLLAR BULLY: Investigating Yelp and claims of lies, manipulation, and extortion.
The vibrant success of our first crowdfunding campaign was evidence that this is a film that the public wants made! Business owners want their voices to be heard, and consumers need to know if they are being mislead by a reckless website that claims it helps us find "great local businesses."
Throughout the past year, we heard from thousands of business owners. To accommodate the increasing breadth of the story, the film had to expand past the Northern California area. With our scope of production expanded, we were able to speak with business owners and experts around the country that greatly shaped and strengthened our investigation.”
Updated 10 June 2016.
“Section 230 of the CDA immunizes providers of interactive computer services against liability arising from content created by third parties: “This grant of immunity applies only if the interactive computer service provider is not also an ‘information content provider,’ which is defined as someone who is “responsible in whole or in part, for the creation or development of’ the offending content.”
Id. § 230(f)(3); Fair Housing Council, 521 F.3d at 1162.
“A website operator can be both a service provider and a content provider, but as to content that it creates itself, or is ‘responsible, in whole or in part’ for creating or developing, the website is also a content provider.” Fair Housing Council, 16 521 F.3d at 1162. The District Court’s erroneous interpretation of the CDA results in a statutory interpretation that is unsupportable because it condones illegal conduct prohibited by federal statute.
Various federal statutes prohibit extortion. If an individual makes a threat with intent to extort, and that threat travels though interstate commerce, including the telephone or internet, that is a violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 875– 877. Section 875(d).
A similar criminal prohibition is the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951. As discussed above, when ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the District Court is to accept the factual allegations in the complaint as true and must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Pareto v. F.D.I.C., 139 F.3d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1998). That did not occur.
Likewise, a plaintiff must only plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 569 (2007).
Plaintiff did so with specific and articulate facts. Threats sufficient to constitute extortion or attempted extortion – may be implied. United States v. Lisinski 728 F.2d 887, 891 (1984) (“The implied threat will usually be that, unless the victim cooperates with the extortionist, economic loss will result”); United States v. Rivera Rangel, 396 F.3d 476, 484 (1st Cir. 2005)”
“Study Finds Widespread HIPAA Violations Occurring on Yelp
Thursday, June 2, 2016
It is no secret that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a trap for the unwary. A recent study
by the non-profit ProPublica has uncovered that the online review site Yelp (as well as other rating sites) are making it easier for covered entities to be ensnared. With the cooperation of Yelp and the use of analytical tools developed by NYU, ProPublica analyzed over 1.7 million Yelp reviews and identified over 3,500 one-star reviews in which patients mention privacy or HIPAA. ProPublica found that in dozens of instances, responses to patient complaints about care spiraled into disputes over patient privacy.”…
Updated 30 October 2015.
"Botto Bistro is still thriving on one stars on Yelp, and we still pay for them of course!"
"If you haven’t see the South Park episode about Yelp, here is the link - they couldn't depict our business model any more clearly.
Thanks, South Park for sharing it. Here at Botto, we all ride our little tiny bicicletta to work, for self-entitled Yelp food critics this is going to be a long fun ride."
Even South Park is involved! That tells you that this has become a mainstream issue! Watch their latest episode for free here: 'You're Not Yelping'
Take a look at the reviews Yelp is getting on Google places, and leave your own. Updated 11 February 2015.
"Current petition signers
1833. Douglas Kimzey from Bellevue, WA signed this petition on Mar 9, 2015.
Comment: "Kimzey v. Yelp Inc. - Opening Brief ( see Google search ) Decision due - 2015 9th Circuit Court of Appeals - San Francisco Extortion - Libel - False Reviews"
"Published on Mar 7, 2015
Billion Dollar Bully is an investigative documentary that examines allegations against Yelp regarding extortion, review manipulation, and review fabrication."
YouTube video about Yelp's tactics, dated July 14, 2014. "Business demonstrates what YELP would look like in real life." Hint: Online IS real life!
Received September 16, 2014. Thank you, Rep. Ann Kuster!
Rep. Ann Kuster (NH-2), a target of the "Pay it Forward: Ban Yelp from Google and all Search Engines until they stop filtering legitimate positive reviews and stop allowing false reviews to appear on business listings." petition you created on MoveOn's petition website (http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/pay-it-forward-ban-yelp posted the following response to the petition, which we thought you should see.
This response was sent through the MoveOn's petition website. The email addresses of the signers of your petition have NOT been shared with the sender.
Thank you for reaching out to me through this MoveOn.org petition. Listening to my constituents is a fundamental part of my job as it helps me to best represent you and New Hampshire’s priorities in Congress. In order to maintain an open dialogue with the people of New Hampshire and to maximize my responsiveness, I encourage constituents like you to contact me directly through my website. If you wish to receive a response, please send me an e-mail through my website at http://Kuster.house.gov or contact my Concord, NH office at (603) 226-1002 or my Washington, DC office at (202) 225-5206. I look forward to hearing from you.
Ann McLane Kuster
Member of Congress
NEW CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT against Yelp, filed 08/06/14. Read all of it, and share it with everyone! CURRY VS YELP.
"JOSEPH CURRY, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff, vs. YELP INC., JEREMY STOPPELMAN, ROBERT J. KROLIK and GEOFFREY DONAKER, Defendants.
CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE FEDERAL SECURITIES LAWS
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL"
WALL STREET JOURNAL
August 14, 2014, 3:46 p.m. ET
SHAREHOLDER ALERT: LEVI & KORSINSKY, LLP Notifies Investors of Class Action Against Yelp Inc. and Its Board of Directors and a Lead Plaintiff Deadline of October 6, 2014 -- YELP
"Yelp Inc. - Information Request Form
Levi & Korsinsky announces that a class action lawsuit has been commenced in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of investors who purchased Yelp Inc. ("Yelp" or the "Company") (NYSE: YELP) securities between October 29, 2013, and April 3, 2014.
The complaint alleges that Yelp made materially false and misleading statements regarding: (a) the true nature of its 'firsthand' experience and reviews appearing on its website; (b) the robustness of its processes and algorithms purportedly designed to screen unreliable reviews; and (c) the Company's forecasted financial growth prospects and the extent to which they were reliant upon undisclosed business practices, including requiring business customers to pay to suppress negative reviews. If you suffered a loss in Yelp you have until October 6, 2014, to request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff. Your ability to share in any recovery doesn't require that you serve as a lead plaintiff.
To receive more information regarding the investigation of Yelp please fill out the form below. " http://zlkdocs.com/YELP-Info-Request-Form-2043
'Yelp hit with shareholder lawsuit over online reviews'
August 6, 2014
"Yelp Inc and its executives were accused in a lawsuit of selling more than $81 million in stock while deceiving shareholders about the quality of consumer reviews on its website."
"The proposed class action, which was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Wednesday, said Yelp's share price had reached artificially inflated prices of over $98 earlier this year because the company had misrepresented its true condition."
"Reviews, including anonymous reviews, appearing on the company's website were not all authentic 'firsthand' reviews," the lawsuit said, "but instead included fraudulent reviews by reviewers who did not have first-hand experience with the business."
'Lawsuit alleges Yelp is extorting businesses with negative reviews'
August 8, 2014
"Business review/guide Yelp is being accused of behaving very, very badly. A class action lawsuit has been prepared by the company's shareholders alleging that Yelp has been requiring businesses to pay to get rid of negative "first-hand" reviews posted on yelp.com. Companies that refused to buy ads on the website have complained about subsequently finding that their positive reviews on the site had mysteriously vanished. The lawsuit puts it into more specific terms:
Algorithms purportedly designed to screen unreliable reviews did not comprehensively do so, and instead, the Company allowed such unreliable reviews to remain prominent while the Company tried to sell services designed to suppress negative reviews or make them go away...
According to Valleywag, the lawsuit claims that Yelp's execs made over $81.5 million from extortion. If true, then those same executives conspired to keep their profits a secret, a kind of insider trading that the suit accuses Yelp of, going so far as to call it "a scheme to deceive the market."
" PANZER VS YELP CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS COMMON TO ALL CLAIMS
34. While the allegations in this Complaint and Jury Demand are generally written in the past tense, they apply equally to Class Members who are currently employed by Defendants.
A. Defendant Exploits a Vulnerable and Disposable Class of Workers
35. Defendant's business model is predicated entirely on the exploitation of Plaintiffs' work product in order for the company and its owners to earn approximately $220 million annually. Its success is dependent upon the efforts of hordes of non-wage-paid reviewers and its ability to use those reviews as ready-made advertising-content to advertise businesses on their websites.
36. Defendant's enormous growth and preeminence as a publisher are directly attributable to its low operating costs, made possible by not paying wages to an entire class of workers and thereby also sidestepping payment of taxes, and other societal contributions.
37. By shirking its responsibilities to pay its workers, Defendant is in essence thumbing its nose both at their workers and the taxing authorities of all states and the U.S. Government.
38. Yelp has devised a system of cult-like rewards and disciplines to motivate its non-wage- paid writers to labor without wages or expense reimbursement, in violation of equitable principles and the FSLA, by offering such rewards as trinkets, badges, titles, praise, social promotion, free liquor, free food, and free promotional Yelp attire, such as red panties with "Make Me Yelp!" stamped across its bottom, 3 Awards and public recognition are regularly offered for such activities as being the first to review a new business; frequently checking in with specific businesses, and for writing a certain number of reviews within a given time-frame. These motivational awards are offered by Defendant to its writers instead of just compensation in the form of wages. States one long-time Yelper, "It's kind of like a cult, except instead of Kool-Aid we drink alcohol,"
39. Yelp's parties have become regular and highly-anticipated events for its "Elite Squad", comprised of selected invitees based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, and help Yelp continue to push workers to compete for what have become coveted honors.
40. Other motivations besides bestowing prolific reviewers with the title "Elite" 4 is the dubbing of individuals with such titles as "Duke" or "Duchess"; then "Baron" or "Baroness" (the ones with the most Dukedoms in their neighborhood); and finally crowning their active participants "King" or "Queen", the person with the most Dukedoms in a given city. These titles are used to generate and maintain interest and productivity of its writers in lieu of monetary compensation, as required by the FLSA. ."
"52. In directives to his non-wage-paid workers, Yelp CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman, gives direct orders to non-wage-paid employees and has threatened that there would be dire consequences if they failed to obey him stating: "I make the decisions and 1 stand behind them". CEO Stoppelman further refers to "the measuring stick" and warns "there will be serious penalties to those that ignore us. The measuring stick is do you have enough independence to be able to criticize the business? If the person is a friend or you can't imagine a scenario where you could give them anything less than a 5-star review you're likely biased and shouldn't review the business. I would definitely not review any of your business networking contacts made through Ladies who Launch or the eWomenNetwork,"
53. Defendant cajoles its troops: "By accepting this invitation, you'll be one of the voices and faces of Yelp Elite - in essence our ambassadors both on and offline - so all we ask is that you commit to keep "Yelping" about your favorite restaurants and clubs, your doctor, your mechanic, your hair salon, or really anything that's local and would help others to know about! We want you to keep telling your friends about Yelp and encourage them to invite their friends as well (the more people Yelping, the more useful and fun the site becomes). We also ask that you contribute positively to the site and do your part to set an example of what a stellar Yelper can and should be."
54. Plaintiffs report they must write glowing reviews of the venues that sponsor company events, where they are often offered free food, liquor, and use of the premises, under threat of losing their "elite" status 5 .
55. Defendant controls its reviews to pander to its advertisers. For instance, Defendant informed one of its writers that it was removing her reviews because it was based on her personal experience. It then told another writer that it was removing his reviews because they were NOT based on his personal experience. This odd conduct by Defendant is used to placate advertisers who might get upset by negative reviews, and then threaten to cancel their advertising."
'Guest: What is Yelp? An impartial review site or an aggressive ad company?'
"Yelp’s supposedly impartial posting of consumer reviews of small businesses, when combined with its aggressive efforts to sell marketing assistance to those same businesses, poses an irreconcilable conflict of interest."
Join the Facebook group, 'Businesses Against Yelp'.
Join the Facebook Group, 'Yelp Extortion'.
'Yelp Filtered Reviews Blues: Businesses Hate The Mysterious Algorithm, But Is There Any Way To Crack It?'
See this MoveOn petition too:
'Apple: Please help Millions of Small Businesses'
See this petition on Change.org
'Pay it Forward: Ban Yelp from Search Engines until they stop their harmful practices. Yelp is destroying small businesses. Help small businesses succeed, and you will help all economies prosper. '
See this website: 'National Association of Small Business Owners'
Check out this article on Forbes.com: 'Think Yelp is Unbiased? Think Again!!'
Read these: '5991 reviews for Yelp that are not currently recommended
Note: The reviews below are not factored into the business's overall star rating.'
Update: 12 December 2018.
Try this link. If you can get the page to load without the 'The dog ate our website
HTTP 504 - GATEWAY TIMEOUT
The page you were trying to view took too long to render, sorry' message
8877 (just changed to 8876) other reviews that are not currently recommended
Do your own research.
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