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Yelp Can Continue Extorting People, Judge Rules

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by BHopkins, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    Yelp has a common practice of showing good reviews to paying advertisers and bad reviews for companies who choose not to advertise with Yelp.com.

    Many (including myself) have considered this extortion, which is defined as "the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats." The "threat" is negative reviews unless you pay us. It seems to line up exactly under the definition of extortion.

    If you didn't read it recently, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said what Yelp does is not considered extortion. The judge claimed that instead of extortion it's actually a "hard ball" negotiation tactic.

    I posted a full breakdown of the courts ruling and summarized the whole thing on my website if you'd like to take a read. My opinions are clearly evident. :)

    What do you think? Is it extortion or just strong arming small businesses?
     
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  2. Malinois

    Malinois Newbie

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    Extortion. Same as with Ripoff Report-- which I still don't understand why State AGs haven't ripped into.
     
  3. nanavlad

    nanavlad Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    The American government has lost its balls.
    It jumps to the beat of the internet's big companies.

    They feel they can only make America safe with the help of the big companies
    and will do nothing to upset them.

    They have forgot the pen is mightier than the sword, and in their fear of a few
    terrorist bombs, they have handed google facebook etc, the pen.

    It's sad to see such a great country, so afraid, its giving up all its principals
     
  4. burglar

    burglar Registered Member

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    I've talked to business owners who have received the phone calls from Yelp with the hard core push for advertising' and although I have not encountered any that were actually threatened with bad reviews, the bad ones do seem to be given more coverage on Yelp if they refuse.

    So yeah, I come down in the "extortion" side of the argument as well.
     
  5. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I've encouraged a lot of my clients to never give them a "no". Always say, "I need to discuss with my partners." Or even, "I really like the plan, let me see if I can move some marketing money around and I'll get back to you."

    Many people, myself included believe that Yelp employees have the ability to manually help or hurt businesses so you don't want to offend them.
     
  6. JustUs

    JustUs Power Member

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    This is really nothing new. There is a business in California that took a page from my book and branded themselves as one star reviews by paying customers in the form of discounts for one star reviews that were off the cheek positive reviews.

    I have been doing about the same with ROR for a few years. I will write a complaint that is actually a positive review. Written correctly, it will displace the negative report. If you write a few, you chances are better.

    What this does is turn the business model on its head. I had devised this method in response to mugsho ts dot co m smearing me all over every consumer complaint site there is in an attempt to extort me into taking an anti site down. I embraced them and turned them to my own purpose. This can be done with any complaint or review site. On the rare occasion that it fails, then you use Google against the sites by writing truthful, untruthful, and bizarre (Person/business launched to Mars type of stuff) to confuse everyone, including the data aggregators. Propaganda is a wonderful tool.

    However, I would love to see sites like Yelp and ROR determined by a higher court as a scheme of extortion. However, this will never happen in the Ninth Circuit.
     
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  7. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I think this is good in theory but when someone sees a 1 star on Google they might not even get to Yelp to see they're actually positive. Whenever I have used the Yelp app in the past, I just look at the stars and number of reviews, never actually reading them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2014
  8. bananaman5000

    bananaman5000 Regular Member

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    i remember a few years ago yelp took google to court for suppressing their results. i used to think "how shitty of google" but now i think i understand.
     
  9. JustUs

    JustUs Power Member

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  10. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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