Last week, a Kickstarter campaign kicked off to raise money for a documentary called Billion Dollar Bully, which delves into accusations about Yelp's business practices that have haunted the company for years.
Businesses often claim that Yelp salespeople call them to try to get them to advertise, and when they decline Yelp responds by burying positive reviews and letting negative ones rise to the top. Yelp of course denies that this has ever happened, and frequently points to failed lawsuits, an FTC investigation, and a study, which it says prove that these stories are nothing more than conspiracy theories.
Whatever the case may be, this film is moving forward, and viewers will be able to make up their own minds as to who they believe.
The project had a goal of 60,000, and has so far raised $60,406 from 483 backers with 23 days to go. An update on the Kickstarter page from filmmaker Kaylie Milliken and associate producer Melissa Wood says:
Again, I PROMISE to leave a thorough update tonight, but I can't wait until then to announce that WE REACHED OUR FUNDING GOAL!!!! This is amazing!!
But this does not mean that we're done. $60,000 was the bare minimum amount that was needed to make this film. With each dollar that comes in, the quality and content of the film improves. Therefore, we have set our first "stretch goal" at $100,000. We need extra funding to cover:
- Why do we need to travel? Because we need to speak with leading experts who live all over the country. That means we need to get a minimum of three people to each destination
More rewards (more backers = more rewards that need to be sent out)
We really can't begin to thank you all enough for this AMAZING show of support! In less than two weeks, we reached our first funding goal. WOW. Please continue to spread the word!!
Kaylie & Mellissa
We'll have to check out for the more detailed update.
In case you're curious about what Yelp thinks of this whole thing, the company's VP of Corporate Communications appeared on CNBC opposite Milliken earlier this week, which we covered here. See that article for additional comments from Milliken as well.
Read our initial interview with Milliken here.