The class-action lawsuit that claims the website Yelp uses threatening tactics to get ads was filed by South Florida attorney Jared Beck, who says he's now getting inundated with requests from people who want to join the suit.
Beck spoke from his law office on Flagler Street in Miami, where he's been twittering about the lawsuit here. He agreed to answer a few questions about the suit via email:
The Juice: These accusations seem to imply criminal activity. Will you be seeking criminal charges against Yelp?
The class action is solely civil in nature. Any criminal repercussions would fall
under the jurisdiction of the relevant prosecuting authorities.
Is this a widespread practice at Yelp or something that's done by a few bad seed salespeople?
have been contacted by dozens of small businesses around the country
relating experiences with Yelp eerily similar to our client's. It is
hard to imagine how this could be so without the practice being
widespread and sanctioned by Yelp.
In the end of the lawsuit, how would you see this affecting Yelp's business practices?
hope is to get an injunction putting the brakes on Yelp's conduct. The
priority is to prevent Yelp from harming small businesses any further.
Could this have widespread effects on websites where users can post reviews? Should it?
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hope so. Our court system has proven effective in the past at stamping
out illegal conduct on the Internet - to take the Napster case as just