I believe Yelp is in a legally actionable position to be sued in a class action, and here is why:
ANY business can have a bad day. What Yelp is doing is taking your “bad day” and using it as a banner ad for your business. If you had 2 or 3 bad days, all the better, Yelp will put them at the top of your search page. That in and of itself is gross misrepresentation of your hard work and jeopardizes your livelihood.
(When I use the term “bad day” it includes a business being subjected to a variety of unreasonable demands from socially repugnant individuals who happen to own computers, by the way.)
The idea that reviews of a business are impartial when they are not posted in chronological order as they are received is another problem. Let’s say your business uses a piece of equipment that malfunctioned on January 1, negatively affecting your product until you discovered it later in the day, at which point you ceased production until the problem was corrected. Unfortunately for you, 3 people over a span of the next three weeks write reviews about the product they recieved on January 1 that slam your business, saying your product is horribly defective. Now here it is December 30th and the negative reviews regarding something that happened a year ago continue to be what Yelp places prominently at the top of your page.
Now Yelp has you where they want you. Now the sales calls begin in earnest.
Here is my experience with these bloodsucking leeches at Yelp:
I own a 4 star rated business. The top three reviews on my Yelp page are a 5 star, a one star, and a two star. That averages out to a little over 2 1/2 stars, which in itself is a misrepresentation of our overall rating.
The one star review was written by a social misfit who was rude to my female employee and threatened a bad Yelp review if she did not accomodate him, which he did, giving us a long winded and rambling one star review. This wing nut’s mental garbage is now my Yelp banner ad.
Then I began receiving sales calls from these smarmy leeches. They want $350.00 a month for their least expensive ad package, which comes out to over $4,000.00 a year for some additional photos on your page and a low quality video link.
They can’t come out and say they will ‘alter’ the placement of your reviews, as this would place them in violation of RICOH racketeering statutes….but in their sales pitch, they refer you to one of your competitor’s Yelp page as an example of what you get if you buy the advertising.
On your competitor’s page, you can’t help but notice that many of his negative reviews are on the second “Captcha” page where they are far less likely to be seen, while all of your negatives are at or near the top of your first page, while your “Captcha” page contains nothing but 4 and 5 star reviews.
Anyone else that has had any similar experience and wants to do something about it, feel free to email me at LetsSueYelp@aol.com.
Yelp……your day is coming.