FOIA Request Uncovers Yelp’s ‘Mafia’-esque Business Practices

The results of a FOIA request filed by MuckRock News investigating Federal Trade Commission complaints over questionable business practices uncovered 685 small business complaints filed against the business review site Yelp

From The Daily Caller:

Allegations against Yelp included spamming businesses that used its service, making harassing sales calls and threatening to delete positive reviews from businesses that declined to purchase advertising. One particular complaint released by the FTC referred to Yelp as the “Internet Mafia” for removing “totally legit costumer reviews”, stating, “No other websites act like this!” Another complaint, filed in April 2012, called Yelp the “thug of the Internet.” “If you do not pay for advertising they remove your good reviews claiming a mysterious ‘ Filter’ they can not explain removed them on the same day you rejected their advertising fees?? Hmmmm,” the complaint read, adding that Yelp “should clearly be fined.”

Ironically, the Yelp complaints were only released by the FTC after the agency dropped a complaint against Google filed by a collective of websites that included Yelp.