Now that the thought-provoking documentary, Billion Dollar Bully, is in release it’s time to revisit filmmaker Kaylie Milliken. In the film business owners (including chefs & restaurateurs) from across a broad spectrum share their personal stories of Yelp‘s questionable business dealings — all of which have been vehemently denied by Yelp.
“Today, consumers Yelp everything, from restaurants to surgeons. The same businesses that receive reviews — good or bad — simultaneously receive phone calls from Yelp salespeople to pay to advertise on Yelp. The small business community sees Yelp’s sales tactics as extortion, as their business’s reviews are filtered in ways that negatively impact their progress if advertisements aren’t purchased.”
“Does Yelp genuinely have an interest in helping people support the best local businesses, or is Yelp a pay-to-play platform? How can Yelp do an honest job of representing consumer sentiment while at the same time fueling their business with advertising dollars from the same companies being reviewed on their site? How does Yelp respond to claims of extortion? As a company that has claimed to care about free speech, what responsibility does Yelp have to provide recourse for business owners who need to address malicious libel from competitors and others who malign them for personal reasons? Should libelous reviews be allowed to remain, even when proven untrue?”
These questions are thoughtfully investigated and answered in the new documentary, Billion Dollar Bully.