Yelp Sues Review-boosting Reputation Management Company RevLeap

YelpAs part of a crackdown on reputation management companies that promise to remove negative reviews and boost positive reviews on its listings service, Yelp has filed a lawsuit against one of these companies, Revleap.

The lawsuit is detailed in a Yelp blog post, which reads: “These offers are scams, but some business owners unfortunately fall for them and end up paying dearly, both with their bank accounts and their online reputations. Today we’re taking a stand to protect business owners from falling prey to these misleading companies.”

Yelp identifies Revleap as a recurring offender, which has previously operated under names including Yelpdirector and Revpley. Its methods include bombarding the customers of their clients with spam email and SMS messages. These link to surveys which offer to enter the recipient into a prize draw in exchange for posting a positive review.

“Revleap’s business model is the sort of thing that can put small businesses at risk with respect to our Consumer Alert program and federal and state regulators who often crack down on businesses that try to artificially inflate their online reputations,” according to Yelp.

However, in a statement issued to Ars Technica, RevLeap owner Alec Farwell argues: “RevLeap services are legal in all aspects of the law, and we specialise in only legitimate reviews from real customers. Yelp has filed completely false and unsubstantiated claims against our company. We aim to decrease defamation and increase awareness of free speech for businesses.”