Last week, Yelp said it was "taking a stand against misleading 'reputation management' companies," as it filed a lawsuit against a company called Revleap, which it said is a scam, and puts small businesses at risk because of the Yelp Consumer Alert program in addition to federal and state regulations.
Yelp said has Revleap had operated under various names like Yelpdirector and Revpley, and “has spammed businesses with unsolicited messages claiming that they can get good reviews to stick and remove bad reviews.”
The actual suit alleges trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, cybersquatting, breach of contract, interference with contractual relations, and false advertising.
We reached out to Revleap for comment, and the company said Yelp's claims are "completely false and unsubstantiated."
Here's the full statement we received:
Since RevLeap's inception as a platform for businesses to connect with their customers to gather feedback in a new way, we champion the freedom of speech and open internet. "The Open Internet" as described by the FCC calls for 1. Transparency, 2. No Blocking, and 3. No Unreasonable Discrimination.
RevLeap services are 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.
We believe the internet, business owners, and their customers benefit greatly from having an open internet. Any disruption of these principles like the Yelp "Filter" or described on Yelp's website as "Recommendation Software" preys on businesses using the reviews as leverage as described in thousands of FTC complaints against Yelp from 2008-2014. Yelp's Yelp Profile has over 10,000 1-Star Reviews from business owners, friends and family of business owners who have been hurt by Yelp and we hope through our services we can restore faith in the internet and reach a point of transparency with Yelp.
Yelp has been talking about the "open Internet" itself. On Wednesday, the company released a blog post calling for people to express their support for Net Neutrality before the FCC votes on February 26, and saying that Yelp values users and works with other companies and organizations to "support adoption of the strongest Net Neutrality principles to protect the American Public."
Here's an excerpt from that:
Since Yelp’s inception as a platform to connect people with great local businesses around them, we have supported and relied on the principles of an open and free Internet in order to do business. These principles, which have become enshrined in the term “Net Neutrality,” provide that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should treat all legal data and content equally, and not discriminate, throttle, or charge different rates depending on the nature of the site, platform or data being transmitted.
Regarding Revleap, Yelp says business owners often fall for such "scams" and pay "dearly, both with their bank accounts and their online reputations."
You can see the full complaint here.
Image via Yelp