I have seen numerous articles claiming that Yelp extorts money from businesses by purportedly hiding higher review to drop a restaurant/business's ratings, then offering them the choice to pay money to get reviews "back".
Is there any substantiated claim to prove that Yelp does extort? I will admit, I am a bit skeptical of this kind of claim.
From the first link:
The lawsuit essentially alleges that the heavily funded startup runs an “extortion scheme” and has “unscrupulous sales practices” in place to generate revenue, in which the company’s employees call businesses demanding monthly payments in the guise of advertising contracts, in exchange for removing or modifying negative reviews.
From the second link:
Such tactics may be legal, but they clearly raise ethical concerns. Yelp touts its web site as consisting of "real people" writing "real reviews." The allegations of business owners who have tangled with the company suggest otherwise.