Judge Dismisses Yelp 'Extortion' Suits

CEO Jeremy Stoppelman welcomes the decision as a victory for the startup.

By Sajid Farooq
|  Thursday, Oct 27, 2011  |  Updated 3:50 PM PDT
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Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman told Press Here that his company's love cannot be bought or sold.

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Charges of extortion by Yelp were greatly exaggerated, according to a judge.

The San Francisco-based digital review startup won a request Wednesday to dismiss several lawsuits against the company for allegedly penalizing businesses that refused to advertise with the company.

"Last year, a few small businesses from among the 20 million or so in the United States filed misguided lawsuits against Yelp alleging that we reward or penalize businesses based on whether they advertised with Yelp," Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said in a statement. "Nothing could be further from the truth; our automated system applies the same objective criteria to all reviews regardless of a business’s advertiser status.'

Stoppelman made a series of public appearances last year when the allegations first arose to deny the charges.

The company also introduced a series of measures to better communicate with small businesses and to clearly lay out Yelp's business practices to them.

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