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Report: yelp.com extorting small businesses.

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by zoomsixx, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. zoomsixx

    zoomsixx Senior Member Premium Member

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    I here more and more about this stuff going on. Really a class action lawsuit should be filed.

    Code:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/04/16/1202103/-round-two-yelp-com-extorting-small-businesses
     
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    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  2. makemecash

    makemecash Regular Member

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    LOL, it's not extortion. They are preventing spam by filtering out the reviews they feel are spam. A lot of online review site's have a big problem with fake reviews to bump a particular companies ratings.

    It's not extortion and a class-action is involved when 2 or more parties take legal action AND when there is sufficient evidence to show that Yelp is KNOWINGLY hurting these businesses for Yelp's own personal gain. Otherwise in their TOS they state that as a member of Yelp, you agree that they are able to filter out your reviews.
     
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  3. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    It's definitely extortion, the same way that mugshot sites do it.

    If you pay them, they will take down the problem. If you don't pay them, they keep it up and Yelp has been known to make it worse by removing good reviews.
     
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  4. mdsurf

    mdsurf Senior Member

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    Oh cmon. Some pissed of guys review gets filtered and its automatically PROVEN extortion? This is ridiculous, spam filter triggered and nothing else
     
  5. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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  6. Nigel Farage

    Nigel Farage BANNED BANNED

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    What's the alternative? A set of government-defined standards for what can and cannot be posted by people that have something to say about a local business? Maybe a special, quasi-governmental review board can be set-up (at taxpayer expense), comprised of the politically proscribed balance of race, color, religion, ethnicity, orientation and gender/transgender status.

    These people can meet, and review the reviews that are publicly posted by pissant peons of the corporate oligarchy, and those reviews can then be judged based on how well they reflect the transcriteria's definition of "constructive, non-hateful and consensus-focused speech", as prescribed by The Federal Standards of Speech Acceptability Act of 2015, as enforced and interpreted by the Department of Homoland Security.

    Given the disruptive and anti-social nature of so many of our ungrateful citizens, this Review Board will also require Special Enforcement Powers as authorized by Chapter 117, subsection 48, paragraph B of the Newly Revised Patriot Act, as well as a Special Municipal Tax to be levied as a component of the State-Mandated Social Progress Consolidated Fees and Administrative Management Initiative of 2014, said power shall include, but shall not be limited to the establishment of a special class of "hate speech criminals" and depending on the number and severity of offenses, punishment and re-education sentencing can range anywhere from monetary fines to several years in prison.

    Either that, or we could simply do away with Yelp. Everyone knows they are a terrorist, hate-group front organization for numerous illegitimate entities whose identities cannot be mentioned here due to the sensitive nature of several ongoing investigations.

    Personally, I endorse the idea of extortion, and as it happens I am currently getting ready to do exactly that to a local business. I LOVE the idea that I can post all manner of incendiary statements about a particular business as a means of coercing from them the money that they owe me, as well as a good-sized dollop of punitive damages. And THEN they can pay me even more money to remove all those incendiary statements, and my Reputation Management Services do not come cheap. And, at the end of that process, maybe they will get the basic message that every once in a while, you run into a guy that makes you realize that there are some people that you really shouldn't fuck with. I intend to take a $300 debt and make it cost this business something on the order of $30,000, and I'm going to inform them of this goal both during and after their journey.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  7. whynotmakeit

    whynotmakeit Power Member

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    5 good reviews still there as of today at least :)
     
  8. zoomsixx

    zoomsixx Senior Member Premium Member

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    I think they flag some accounts, like Paypal. It's up to whoever is dealing with that particular business. So you tell the guy on the phone to F*ck off, you get flagged.
     
  9. kvmcable

    kvmcable Supreme Member

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    The BBB is just as bad with their tactics.

    I had to file complaints to BBB Corporate Office and the AG in my State to get an F rating removed. I told them I wouldn't subscribe to the BBB, wouldn't give them personal information about the owners of my Corporation and received 3 complaints in the last 36 mos that were all online customers we refused to sell to. All 3 customers were given full refunds on the same day or next day but that didn't prevent them from going to BBB online, posting complaints and tarnishing our record. We answered the complaints and provided proof of the refunds but the BBB can't remove the complaints (because we're not subscribers).

    After contacting their Corporate Office (the local office told us to bug off; nothing we can do) and the AG they removed the F grade and now it shows no grade. When they did that, they also removed our address and contact information so people searching BBB for us can't see our contact information.

    Yelp and the BBB are both shake down rackets that should be prosecuted and jailed. Pay them or pay the consequences. Nothing different than the Mob asking for protection money - IMO.
     
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  10. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    This is just blackmail. You want to post negative comments then charge a client to take them down. That's dirty.

    My reputation management services are not cheap either, but I have major ethical problems with your plan. I try to help my clients, not hurt them just to get more money out of them.
     
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  11. zoomsixx

    zoomsixx Senior Member Premium Member

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    The BBB is a privately help company. I a lot of people don't understand that. They actually think it's a government agency. I had a clent who really believed they would get in trouble if they didn't respond to BBB letters.
     
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  12. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    That's a good point. This business model has been around for a long time and people are just now starting to realize what they're doing and that's good for everyone.

    I do a lot of reputation management and make my living helping people that Yelp hurts, but I still think the business model is very shady.
     
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  13. Nigel Farage

    Nigel Farage BANNED BANNED

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    Okay fine. How about instead I post all the negative comments, then send an email offering YOUR services to remove them. If they hire you, we can split the gross 50/50.

    Or, even better, how about I give you their name & number, and you can do "advance reputation management" and they can pay you to keep me from doing it in the 1st place. Right now, they owe me $750, and I want another $300 in punitive damages. You can bill them $2000, pay me the $1050, and keep the rest. Let me know if you are interested.
     
  14. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    It's could be a different situation if they owe you money, I didn't realize that was the situation from your first post.
     
  15. Nigel Farage

    Nigel Farage BANNED BANNED

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    NP. All this pink hair dye makes me a bit inflammatory. Same thing happened to Dennis Rodman.
     
  16. zoomsixx

    zoomsixx Senior Member Premium Member

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    Yelp claims that an "algorithm" filters out reviews that are suspected to be fake.

    I suspect the "algorithm" is this:

    if(account==paid)
    reviews.showGood();
    else
    reviews.showBad();