We paid an outside consultant to investigave and develop this page, as we were too upset to be impartial ourselves.
What follows is an impartial as can be account of Yelp's increasing requests, which culiminate in extortion and court action.
August 11, 2010. Jessica's letter starts off nicely enough, she politely asks for some tables to be donated to an event she is throwing. "I started researching table rental places online and came across NextArts and wanted to reach out to you to see if you would be interested in donating tables for the event the day of." We're busy that day, so we politely decline.Within 3 days, a dozen negative reviews pop up, and 25 of our best reviews vanish from Yelp.
Don't believe it? Here they are.
March 14, 2011. Stephanie follows up with another polite letter. NextArts Director Anthony calls her back, and explains that they just can't help that time either.
After asking for more freebies, and offering to remove negative reviews in exchange for advertising payments from NextArts, Stephanie screams at Anthony "You must love those negative Yelp reviews!" then slams the phone down on the hook.
Within 7 days, 60 reviews are filtered, and more negatives crop up.
NextArts was not singled out. We are not the victims of some grand consipiricy. Jessica and Stephanie are just 2 Yelp employees with write privlidges on the server farm.
In 2010, Yelp was hit with a Class action lawsuit alleging unfair business practices by Yelp and Yelp employees.
The lawsuit essentially alleges that the heavily funded startup runs an "extortion scheme" and has "unscrupulous sales practices" in place to generate revenue, in which the company?s employees call businesses demanding monthly payments in the guise of advertising contracts, in exchange for removing or modifying negative reviews.The plaintiff in the suit, a veterinary hospital in Long Beach, CA, is said to have requested that Yelp remove a negative review from the website, which was allegedly refused by the San Francisco startup, after which its sales representatives repeatedly contacted the hospital demanding payments of roughly $300 per month in exchange for hiding or deleting the review.