10/1/13

Yelp Online Review Site Sues California Lawyer for Fake Reviews

Yelp.com has sued a California law firm for allegedly fake reviews posted on the review site - read the details in a news story published in Bloomberg Businessweek which includes a link to the complaint that has been filed in the California court.

The defendants here are McMillan Law Group, Inc., and Julian McMillan, who practices bankruptcy in San Diego, California.

The twist to this story:  McMillan sued Yelp.com earlier this year - and won.  Yelp successfully appealed that decision according to the Business Insider and now, Yelp has sued the lawyer in another lawsuit.

There's more coverage with more details, if you're interested:   the Wall Street Journal has blogged about it; and ArsTechnica.com reports that the Yelp case has been ordered to binding arbitration.

What I find interesting about all this is that: (1) apparently, Yelp has yet to make a profit on its review site, where revenues come in from advertising; and (2) allegedly, lawyers are not only getting friends and family and employees to write sweet and wonderful reviews for their Yelp profits but lawyers are also purportedly grouping together, so that firms can submit glowing reviews about each other's practices on Yelp.com, too (this all, according to Yelp).

Two things:

1.  If Yelp isn't turning a profit, then how long can it survive?  Just wondering here.
2.  I realize that lawyers come in all shapes and sizes, but asking Aunt Harriet to write a fake Yelp review, or forming some secret review society to chock the site with fake reviews for the group?  Sure, I'm jaded enough to think that there may be some lawyers out there doing this.  I just don't know any lawyer that would bother.  They don't have enough hours in the day as it is.   And I mean, really.  
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