Yelp wins dismissal of class-action lawsuits
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Yelp won a request Wednesday to dismiss several lawsuits against the popular ratings website. The suits alleged that San Francisco-based Yelp rewards or penalizes businesses based on whether they advertised with the company.
In a blog post after the decision, Chief Executive Jeremy Stoppelman said ‘nothing could be further from the truth.’
‘As we’ve discussed here many times, we use an automated algorithm to filter our content to help us showcase the most reliable reviews we can,’ he said. ‘This makes Yelp a little bit different than other review sites, which can be strange and unsettling to some businesses.’
Still, he conceded that protecting content integrity is a ‘difficult task’ and ‘sometimes legitimate content can get caught.’ The lawsuits have also led to more transparency from the company, which instituted changes such as allowing users to see filtered reviews that were previously hidden.
Yelp has become a prominent landing site for people interested in getting consumer reviews on restaurants, clubs, hotels and other businesses. The 7-year-old company has faced criticism in the past from small-business owners who accused the company of burying positive reviews and promoting negative ones if they didn’t advertise on the website; some said the company would pressure them to advertise in exchange for removal of negative reviews.
-- Andrea Chang