Yelpers Demand Payment for Their Smart, Well-Written Reviews

A group of California Yelpers claim they are "unpaid employees" for the site, proceed to sue.

Photo:

Photo: Brown Cow Media

Where is the line drawn between user-generated content and professional writing? For some, there isn’t a line.

A group of Yelpers in California have filed a class action lawsuit against the website, claiming that they are being treated as unpaid employees, and deserve compensation for their reviews, as well as benefits and reimbursement for the reviews they’ve already published on the site. They argue that Yelp “could not exist, nor make its enormous returns, without its domination and control over non-wage writers.” Well, yeah, but that’s the point.

According to these enraged Yelpers, the website has “devised a system of cult-like rewards” like “trinkets, badges, titles, praise, social promotion, free liquor, free food, and free promotional Yelp attire” in order to motivate people to write.

Things do get a little fishy when sponsors are thrown into the argument. The writers claim that Yelp takes down or “punishes” its writers for bad reviews posted about sponsored restaurants. Conversely, “elite” writers are sometimes encouraged to write positive reviews of sponsored restaurants to “meet a quota of reviews that must be filed at each star level.”

Should users be compensated for creating content on Yelp? What does this mean for other sites that rely on a large network of people? Is Yelp really trying to exploit their fans? We’re interested to see how this case develops.

Read the full lawsuit here.

[via Eater, LA Weekly]

  • Guest

    If I were compensated for posting a review on Yelp, I’d feel pretty guilty about it…

    I write about food and drink, so I’ve heard from many business owners that they are exploited by Yelp. They are told if they don’t advertise that their 5-star reviews will be taken down from the website. The worst part is that restaurants don’t have a choice of whether or not their restaurant is on Yelp’s website, so they have no way of opting out of the harassment and phone calls from Yelp. Here’s an example of this happening in Portland: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pevtBGsQquQ

  • buttcrackattack

    If I were compensated for posting a review on Yelp, I’d feel pretty guilty about it…

    I write about food and drink, so I’ve heard from many business owners that they are exploited by Yelp. They are told if they don’t advertise that their 5-star reviews will be taken down from the website. The worst part is that restaurants don’t have a choice of whether or not their restaurant is on Yelp’s website, so they have no way of opting out of the harassment and phone calls from Yelp. Here’s an example of this happening in Portland:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  • You Tell Me

    Some Yelpers use the reviews to extort businesses into giving them free goods or services. The Yelper threatened to post bad reviews until they get what they want. It is an abused tool. Yelp could care less. Unless you pay them. Yelp should go away. This is the biggest disservice to online reviews.

  • Your Mom

    Who the fuck even uses yelp? Hillbillies.

    Get your own sense of what’s good or not.

  • barry

    Of course Yelp is exploiting them because they ALLOWED themselves to be exploited. That is pretty much what Yelp does, but people don’t seem to mind much, do they.

    I don’t like Yelp and I don’t use them because I think it’s ALL pretty much fake, just like all those travel-based food shows on the Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, etc., etc., etc…… 95% of everything on these channels/shows are totally, completely, and absolutely FAKE, just like Yelp!!

    These shows get PAID by the restaurants they visit, to come out there and do their rehearsed, scripted, edited, censored, and ultra FAKE episode, all for the purpose of hype, spin, publicity, and advertisement. These are really nothing more then “glorified” commercials. That is what people are actually watching. The whole thing is a LIE, deception, a con, a scam, and a set up!!! Now they have started doing idiotic “game shows!!” Jeez, what morons. I have no idea how the hell they manage to stay on their air, I really don’t.

    Who in their right mind would watch such ROTTEN viewing like that?? That is why I don’t watch these FAKE shows anymore either. I quite watching this crap years ago. They have TOTALLY and COMPLETELY changed their format, purpose, content, intent, message, goal, the shows they develop and air, and what these shows/channels USED to be about, and it’s certainly NOT for the better!!! NOT by a long shot.

    They also own/operate/control HGTV, as well as other shows on other channels, and they have virtually fucked up, changed, and ruined each and every one of those as well. They USED to have good shows on years ago, one’s that I really liked. But now there is nothing that even resembles what they used to do. Now it’s all pretty much useless, worthless, shitty, terrible, and FAKE!!

    They should take all those people who work there, round’em up, stick them all in one HUGE Fed-Ex box, and mail them to Tasmania!! They need to get rid of all the idiots who are responsible for all these horrible TV shows on their channels. What an epic failure. Show after show after show, it’s just tragic!!

    There is a little bit of good content that is still on these channels, but 95% of it is just awful, vile, worthless, appalling, stupid, and a complete waste of time. These addled shows are just useless, boring, detestable, abhorrent, annoying, irritating, inept, incompetent, unappealing, uninteresting, lame, redundant, tired, inept, awful, and FAKE, just like NObama.

    Anyway, as for these plaintiff’s who filed this lawsuit, they knew exactly what they were doing and agreed to it of their own free will, or they would not have done it. If they had some kind of legally BINDING agreement, contract, conditions, etc., IN WRITING that specifically stated their terms, conditions, wages, compensation, etc., then that would be a completely different situation. They do not have this from Yelp because it’s all voluntary, and they know it. They had a choice and they choose to write for them of their volition. No one forced, coerced, threatened them. And no one lied, inferred, or promised them they would be paid a wage or commission for their writing. They don’t have a legal leg to stand on, and their conduct and intent to use the legal system is really outrageous, disgusting, appalling, unethical, and disingenuous.

    That being said, Yelp has MUCH to lose if they don’t turn this mess around. IF they were smart, they would pay them. They are ONLY going to hurt themselves in the end, because in the end ALL that matters is the court of public opinion. The public is really the ONLY judge, jury, and executioner that matters. Besides, Yelp can certainly afford to be a generous, kind, and benevolent to these people, and as well they should because it’s only a few people for Christ sake.

    Yelp is really lucky to have such good writers helping them, because I don’t think they even deserve it because I don’t think they really give a shit about anyone or anything except themselves. They should not have allowed this issue to get this far.

    If I were Yelp I would quash and rectify this matter as quickly, smoothly, and compassionately as they possibly can and do whatever it takes to smooth things over. If they don’t, they are going to look MUCH worse then they do now.

    Yelp is already in hot water over other issues that they just ignored, which only compounded their problems. They will end up losing most, if not all, of their following, and I don’t think there is many left. They have lost a lot of their reputation, integrity, trust, credibility, business, and profits as a result. But they could turn it around for themselves if they really wanted to, but I doubt they will. As long as they have a few loyal members who don’t give shit they will just continue on the same path, doing/allowing the same unethical, immoral, unscrupulous, negative, and egregious things.

    This is the problem with greedy companies and this is why so many Americans are SO angry, furious, and outraged right now, because they feel so overwhelmed, distraught, oppressed, short-changed, used, abused, invalid, invisible, and powerless to do anything or change anything.

    These plaintiff’s sound like a bunch of sniveling, addle-brained, bleed-heart, Obama-loving, Kool-Aid-Drinking Liberal nit wits. I would bet good money that these idiots are some of the same brainwashed morons who got suckered and used by NObama and his cohorts in helping him CHEAT his way into office, not once but twice, and was NEVER compensated or rewarded for it.

    How else could NObama get in?? So now these Liberal parasites are going after Yelp, since they obviously can’t go after the Fraud-in-Chief. What a bunch of scheming, loathsome, sneaky, conniving manipulative Liberal parasites, just like NObama.

    They are crying foul now because they were STUPID and intentionally ALLOWED themselves to get used!! I would throw this ULTRA frivolous, illegitimate, loathsome, and liberally instigated lawsuit straight out the window in a second if I was the judge.

    Of course Yelp is exploiting them because they ALLOWED themselves to be exploited. That is pretty much what Yelp does, but people don’t seem to mind much, do they.

    I don’t like Yelp and I don’t use them because I think it’s ALL pretty much fake, just like all those travel-based food shows on the Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, etc., etc., etc…… 95% of everything on these channels/shows are totally, completely, and absolutely FAKE, just like Yelp!!

    These shows get PAID by the restaurants they visit, to come out there and do their rehearsed, scripted, edited, censored, and ultra FAKE episode, all for the purpose of hype, spin, publicity, and advertisement. These are really nothing more then “glorified” commercials. That is what people are actually watching. The whole thing is a LIE, deception, a con, a scam, and a set up!!! Now they have started doing idiotic “game shows!!” Jeez, what morons. I have no idea how the hell they manage to stay on their air, I really don’t.

    Who in their right mind would watch such ROTTEN viewing like that?? That is why I don’t watch these FAKE shows anymore either. I quite watching this crap years ago. They have TOTALLY and COMPLETELY changed their format, purpose, content, intent, message, goal, the shows they develop and air, and what these shows/channels USED to be about, and it’s certainly NOT for the better!!! NOT by a long shot.

    They also own/operate/control HGTV, as well as other shows on other channels, and they have virtually fucked up, changed, and ruined each and every one of those as well. They USED to have good shows on years ago, one’s that I really liked. But now there is nothing that even resembles what they used to do. Now it’s all pretty much useless, worthless, shitty, terrible, and FAKE!!

    They should take all those people who work there, round’em up, stick them all in one HUGE Fed-Ex box, and mail them to Tasmania!! They need to get rid of all the idiots who are responsible for all these horrible TV shows on their channels. What an epic failure. Show after show after show, it’s just tragic!!

    There is a little bit of good content that is still on these channels, but 95% of it is just awful, vile, worthless, appalling, stupid, and a complete waste of time. These addled shows are just useless, boring, detestable, abhorrent, annoying, irritating, inept, incompetent, unappealing, uninteresting, lame, redundant, tired, inept, awful, and FAKE, just like NObama.

    Anyway, as for these plaintiff’s who filed this lawsuit, they knew exactly what they were doing and agreed to it of their own free will, or they would not have done it. If they had some kind of legally BINDING agreement, contract, conditions, etc., IN WRITING that specifically stated their terms, conditions, wages, compensation, etc., then that would be a completely different situation. They do not have this from Yelp because it’s all voluntary, and they know it. They had a choice and they choose to write for them of their volition. No one forced, coerced, threatened them. And no one lied, inferred, or promised them they would be paid a wage or commission for their writing. They don’t have a legal leg to stand on, and their conduct and intent to use the legal system is really outrageous, disgusting, appalling, unethical, and disingenuous.

    That being said, Yelp has MUCH to lose if they don’t turn this mess around. IF they were smart, they would pay them. They are ONLY going to hurt themselves in the end, because in the end ALL that matters is the court of public opinion. The public is really the ONLY judge, jury, and executioner that matters. Besides, Yelp can certainly afford to be a generous, kind, and benevolent to these people, and as well they should because it’s only a few people for Christ sake.

    Yelp is really lucky to have such good writers helping them, because I don’t think they even deserve it because I don’t think they really give a shit about anyone or anything except themselves. They should not have allowed this issue to get this far.

    If I were Yelp I would quash and rectify this matter as quickly, smoothly, and compassionately as they possibly can and do whatever it takes to smooth things over. If they don’t, they are going to look MUCH worse then they do now.

    Yelp is already in hot water over other issues that they just ignored, which only compounded their problems. They will end up losing most, if not all, of their following, and I don’t think there is many left. They have lost a lot of their reputation, integrity, trust, credibility, business, and profits as a result. But they could turn it around for themselves if they really wanted to, but I doubt they will. As long as they have a few loyal members who don’t give shit they will just continue on the same path, doing/allowing the same unethical, immoral, unscrupulous, negative, and egregious things.

    This is the problem with greedy companies and this is why so many Americans are SO angry, furious, and outraged right now, because they feel so overwhelmed, distraught, oppressed, short-changed, used, abused, invalid, invisible, and powerless to do anything or change anything.

    These plaintiff’s sound like a bunch of sniveling, addle-brained, bleed-heart, Obama-loving, Kool-Aid-Drinking Liberal nit wits. I would bet good money that these idiots are some of the same brainwashed morons who got suckered and used by NObama and his cohorts in helping him CHEAT his way into office, not once but twice, and was NEVER compensated or rewarded for it.

    How else could NObama get in?? So now these Liberal parasites are going after Yelp, since they obviously can’t go after the Fraud-in-Chief. What a bunch of scheming, loathsome, sneaky, conniving manipulative Liberal parasites, just like NObama.

    They are crying foul now because they were STUPID and intentionally ALLOWED themselves to get used!! I would throw this ULTRA frivolous, illegitimate, loathsome, and liberally instigated lawsuit straight out the window in a second if I was the judge.

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