Yelp, the popular but controversial online site, has been sued in federal court again for alleged extortion, according to the San Jose Business Journal. It was the second time in the past few weeks that Yelp has been sued in court for an alleged of scheme of using customer reviews to make money. In the most recent case, a San Diego County day spa owner claims that Yelp deleted positive reviews that she solicited from customers after she refused to buy advertising with Yelp.
In the previous legal case, a Southern California veterinary clinic alleged that Yelp staff said they would kill negative reviews and highlight positive reviews of the clinic if the clinic bought ads on Yelp. The two lawsuits mirror extortion allegations leveled by numerous businesses in two Express stories last year.
Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman has maintained that the business owners are either lying or don’t understand social media or Yelp’s supposedly sophisticated web filters. In the latest case, Stoppleman said on his blog that Yelp’s filters had deleted the day spa’s positive reviews.