Social Media in Legal Marketing: Yelp Faces Class Action Lawsuit for “Extortion Scheme”


Section 230 Isn’t for Bullies
Online communities such as Yelp are usually protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This online law protects publishers; without it, social media would likely never have been.  It’s such a valuable protection that I think even lawyers in South Carolina deserve it. However, Section 230 has limits.

Yelp may have stepped outside of  §230’s protection when it made offers to take down negative ratings for firms for a fee. From a distance, this seems less like providing a public bulletin board, and a bit more like a shake-down for brand protection.

That’s how Beck & Lee in Miami and The Weston Firm in San Diego see it. They have filed a class action lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court alleging unfair business practices.

Yelp Suit Connects Legal Marketing and Social Media
Of course, such a case requires a blog website where you can “share your Yelp story” and read damning coverage of Yelp’s sales practices before joining  the case. It is ironic that plaintiff’s counsel is asking those Yelp has reviewed to now return the favor. And it’s another example of social media getting into legal case generation.

Sue the Funded
At the turn of the year, Yelp was reportedly valued in excess of $500 million in a purchase negotiation with Google.  Yelp recently closed a private round of financing.  Though the pockets could have been deeper, the defendant is well funded … Although some would say that’s in part through unscrupulous sales practices.

1 Response to "Social Media in Legal Marketing: Yelp Faces Class Action Lawsuit for “Extortion Scheme”"

  • battery-stores

    May 21, 2010

    Thanks for sharing the post.
    I like your style. It is wonderful.

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