What started as an almost idealistic endeavor, a place to give every day consumers a voice, seems to have taken a turn for the worst as advertising budgets shrink and investors are becoming more cautious in who they give their money. Recent complaints reported by The East Bay Express indicate that Yelp.com, who's motto is "Real people. Real Reviews.", has started offering to remove bad reviews for a fee, and may also be falsifying reviews or altering the order in which they appear on their web site if the business declines to pay this fee. Simply put, this is extortion.
The idea behind Yelp.com, founded in July 2004 by Jeremy Stoppelman, 31, and Russel Simmons, 30, both coming from PayPal, was to give a place for customers to not only find local businesses, but to also give these customers a voice by allowing them to post reviews. Since the creation of Yelp, their primary source of funding has been private investors, so far totaling over $31 Million, as well as selling advertisements, and upgrade business profiles, but in just under 5 years of operation, the company has still failed to turn a profit.
Chief Operating Officer Donaker said it's all a big misunderstanding;
"Do I think that sales reps call are saying, 'We'll move your bad reviews'?" he asked. "No. But I think it could be true — when you get to pick your favorite review and put it to the top, if I said it a little different way, it might sound a little nefarious."
To read the full story, check out The Full Article on The Easy Bay Express web site.
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