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Yelp's Newest Weapon Against Fake Reviews: Lawsuits

Yelp's Newest Weapon Against Fake Reviews: Lawsuits
Photograph by Ocean/Corbis

For years, some small business owners have alleged that Yelp wields the threat of negative reviews to convince local businesses to buy advertising. Yelp has worked hard to dispel those claims, defending the way it filters fake reviews in court and in a series of long blog posts.

Now a San Diego lawyer is accusing Yelp of a different kind of bullying. Attorney Julian McMillan says Yelp sued him in retaliation after he won his own legal claim against the company and began recruiting other businesses with similar grievances. “This is their way of swatting down a gnat,” says McMillan, who runs a solo law firm focusing on bankruptcies. “They’re trying to get me to spend money because they want to give pause to the next business that sues them.”