Yelp Inc (YELP) Off The Hook Over Reviews Manipulation Allegations

The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly ended an inquiry into Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP); pertaining to a software it uses to manage customer reviews on its website. The agency was responding to complaints raised by small businesses on how the company was rating some of them.

Thousands of Complaints

Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) has grown to become a key source of referrals for businesses that usually look to gain an advantage against their competitors in terms of positive publicity. Consumers have always relied upon Yelp reviews in getting vital information pertaining to, restaurants mechanics and dentists. Some businesses have already posted posters on their windows asking consumers to review them on the Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) website.

Small business owners had reportedly aired concerns that Yelp was slow in removing fake reviews that went a long way to hurting them in terms of public perception. The owners had also complained that the company was promoting negative reviews of businesses that did not advertise. The FTC is reported to have received up to 2,000 complaints thus the move to initiate the inquiry.

Stand Off With Small Business Owners

Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) on its part affirms that it always manages its site for the benefit of consumers and not small business owners. On a blog post by the company Yelp, reiterated that this was the second enquiry that the agency had closed without taking any action.

The company has for some time been entangled in a tussle with small business owners. In September of last year, a case was thrown out of an appeals court in which the owners had alleged that the company was soliciting advertisement payments from them by manipulating reviews.

Some businesses are already posting complaints about Yelp on their windows. A Thai Restaurant in San Francisco has posted a flier saying ‘Stop the Bully Boycott Yelp.’ The Restaurant claims that positive reviews are no longer being posted in yelp’s website. Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) on its part maintains that some business fabricates positive reviews to boost their rating something it is trying to curb