Yelp Sues Companies That Allegedly Promise Restaurants Great Reviews

February 20, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

Yelp, an entertainment site that sometimes offers useful restaurant reviews, is suing a group of companies for allegedly manipulating ratings.

The lawsuit says that sites like Yelpdirector, Revleap, and Revpley are “based on fraudulent reviews, invasive spam, and conduct that otherwise violates the law as well as Yelp’s Terms of Service.” The company is “taking a stand to protect business owners from falling prey to these misleading companies.”

For example, the lawsuit claims that Yelpdirector sent an email to prospective clients saying that it had “invented a software that allows you to proactively generate a large number of 4 and 5 star reviews from your customers in a way that makes them stick to the front page of Yelp” and that “All reviews 3 star and below are filtered by the system and never posted online.” However, the lawsuit also says that Yelpdirector has “no ability to get good reviews to ‘stick to Yelp’ and have no ability to ‘remove bad reviews.'”

In a statement to CBS, company Revleap says the claims are baseless:

Alec Farwell, one of the owners of Revleap, said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch that its service is “legal in all aspects of the law, and we specialize in only legitimate reviews from real customers. Yelp has filed completely false and unsubstantiated claims against our company. We aim to decrease defamation and increase awareness of free speech for businesses. We level the playing field for everyone who uses the internet or reviews on any site.”

(Photo: Faruk Ateş)