Review sites like Yelp are often founded on the premise of helping good businesses and customers connect and hopefully providing both with the best possible end result.  Unfortunately, many of the businesses that Yelp could potentially be helping are accusing the review site of acts akin to extortion for their methods of securing advertising.

Yelp is preparing to face multiple allegations of extortion for altering ratings based on whether a company participated in Yelp’s advertising program.  Plaintiffs allege that the company has removed legitimate positive reviews of their businesses due to the fact that they weren’t paying to advertise on the site.  This is coming on the heels of lawsuit filed late last year by a California attorney over Yelp advertising (the lawyer won his claim, but the ruling was overturned under the premise that the ruling should be made by an arbitrator).

Yelp doesn’t deny the fact that positive reviews have been removed, stating that they use a specific algorithm designed to identify potentially fraudulent reviews written by people affiliated with the company.  Yelp claims that the loss of some legitimate positive reviews is simply a price that must be paid in order to ensure credibility – a theory which makes Yelp critics criticize the review site even more.

It is very difficult to run a successful business in the state of California under the best of conditions.  A third party denying potential customers positive reviews of your service certainly won’t help those who are struggling to make ends meet.

If you feel as though a third party is unfairly or illegally participating in a practice that could harm your business you need to seek legal advice immediately.   An experienced California business attorney will delve into your story to find out if any third party corporation or individual is doing anything that could negatively impact your business.  If there is evidence of wrongdoing your attorney can seek an injunction against the third party and work to secure any damages you might be entitled to.

AXIS Legal Counsel’s Business and Corporations Practice provides legal advice to numerous businesses with a variety of legal matters, including business formations, contracts, deals, and transactions, business administration, corporate governance, operations, risk management / insurancelabor/employment matters, intellectual property, healthcare, crisis management, directors/officers, private/data security, technology, statutory/legal compliance, and business litigation. AXIS represents businesses, corporations, LLCs, LLPS, partnerships, and startups in need of a corporate lawyer, for business legal matters as well as business litigation.

For information on retaining AXIS Legal Counsel to represent your business in connection with any legal matter, contact or call (213) 403-0130 for a confidential consultation. Axis’ managing attorney Rabeh M. A. Soofi is ranked as one of the “Top Women Lawyers of Southern California” by SuperLawyers, and is a Los Angeles Business Lawyer representing businesses and start-ups throughout Los Angeles and California.