Yelp, the popular website that offers reviews of local businesses, has just been bitten by Cats and Dogs, a veterinary hospital that is accusing the site of extortion. In a class-action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles this week, the Long Beach pet hospital claims that Yelp tried to get it to cough up $300 a month for a 12-month advertising commitment in exchange for tweaking possible bad reviews of the clinic.
In its complaint, Cats and Dogs alleges that Yelp carried a negative review of the hospital written by a certain “Chris R” that the hospital’s owner, Gregory Perrault, viewed as false and defamatory. He asked Yelp to remove it because the review was based on an office visit that occurred 18 months before the post was written, and Yelp’s guidelines mandate that reviews must be posted within 12 months of an experience. The site took down Chris R’s review.
However another bad review, this time by “Kay K,” popped up five days later. According to Wired, Kay K wrote: