Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman poses at his company's headquarters in San Francisco on August 1, 2014.
Photograph by Eric Risberg — AP

The Federal Trade Commission has closed a second inquiry into the online review service's business practices without taking action.

By Benjamin Snyder
January 6, 2015

For the second time, the Federal Trade Commission opened an inquiry into local review site Yelp and complaints by business owners about how it handles negative critiques. And for the second time, the agency has declined to bring a case against Yelp for any wrongdoing.

Yelp trumpeted the news Tuesday in a blog post.

“The FTC recently concluded a deep inquiry into our business practices and informed us that it will not be taking any action against Yelp,”said Vince Sollitto, a company spokesman.

Small businesses owners have long been up in arms against Yelp, claiming that it takes too long to take down fake reviews. They have also accused the company of purposely placing negative ads in top positions for companies that don’t pay for advertising, as a sort of extortion.

In April, The Wall Street Journal reported that the FTC received over 2,000 consumer complaints against Yelp from 2008 to March 2014. In September, a federal appeals court dismissed a suit by a group of small business owners claiming that Yelp manipulated reviews appearing in their profiles.

“The reason millions of people around the world use Yelp every day to find great local businesses is because they trust the content,” wrote Sollitto. “That’s why we take so many steps to prevent gaming of our system and to protect consumers and business owners alike — and why we would never do anything to jeopardize that trust.”

The FTC was not immediately available for comment.

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