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Yelp's Ad Practices: Extortion?

'I'm no lawyer, but I know a racket when I see one,' writes David Lazarus

(Newser) - Rick Fonger, who owns a California jewelry store, used to advertise on Yelp. The day after he stopped, last month, a Yelp employee called to tell him that his competitors' ads were now showing up above the reviews on his store's Yelp page . "She said that for $75... More »

How a Fake Yogurt Shop Took Down Fake Reviewers

19 companies agree to stop deceptive practices in New York

(Newser) - Fake reviews are a known problem online—but New York has managed to crack down on them using an equally fake yogurt shop. After a yearlong investigation, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman this week announced that the state has reached settlements with 19 companies; they'll stop with the... More »

Hot on Yelp: Prison Reviews

But amusing trend underscores serious problem

(Newser) - Planning on committing a crime in the near future? You might want to check Yelp first and make sure you do so in a county that has a nice jail. Yes, prison reviews are increasingly popular on Yelp, with reviewers commenting on everything from cleanliness and food quality to security... More »

Yelp Shares Jump 62% in IPO

Review site goes public

(Newser) - Yelp shares hit the stock market today and soared, despite mixed reviews of the consumer review website's long-term prospects. The initial public offering of 7.1 million shares had been priced at $15 a share, which was above the target range of $12 to $14 it set last month;... More »

Rivals Eager for Google Antitrust Hearing

Yelp, Nextag, Expedia say company has been anti-competitive

(Newser) - Google’s Senate antitrust hearing is today, and rivals Yelp, Nextag, and Expedia are ready to do some complaining. The three companies intend to tell lawmakers that Google is exploiting its search dominance by promoting its own services at the expense of theirs in its results, they tell the Wall ... More »

Google Buys Zagat Guide

They promise to make it central to their local and map products

(Newser) - We’re going to bet that Yelp is pretty upset right now, because Google took what looks to be a big step into its turf today by acquiring Zagat to bolster its location offerings, Mashable reports. Marissa Mayer, Google’s VP of Local, Maps, and Location services, announced the deal... More »

PR Firms in Full-Out Assault on Online Reviewers

Firms fight to shape what's being said about their brands

(Newser) - It isn't just Yelp, now the object of a class-action lawsuit, that's accused of manipulating those supposedly spontaneous grass-roots reviews popping up all over the Internet. Public relations companies are working overtime to shape online, word-of-mouth marketing to benefit their clients. The arena is becoming a battleground as companies strive... More »

Businesses Sue Yelp for Shakedowns

Claim site pressured them to advertise to squash bad reviews

(Newser) - A barrage of small businesses are suing Yelp, saying it pressured them to advertise in order to quash negative reviews. Since late February, at least three lawsuits seeking class action status have been filed against the site by a dozen companies, the AP reports. Yelp denies wrongdoing, saying that reviews... More »

San Quentin: Yes, It's on Yelp

Many reviews from tourists' ex-cons hate the food

(Newser) - Perhaps he was doing research into convicts and social media , but whatever the reason he was looking, MG Siegler is surprised to find California’s forbidding San Quentin state prison on Yelp (FourSquare, too). And though many of the 19 reviews are dedicated to tours and other open-to-the-public features, there... More »

Google Near $500M Deal to Swallow Yelp

Site that lets users review local biz part of shopping spree

(Newser) - Google is on something of a shopping spree, and its next acquisition looks to be Yelp, the site that allows users to post reviews of local businesses. The price for fast-growing Yelp is in the $500 million range, TechCrunch reports tonight—a hefty jump from its $200 million valuation early... More »

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