We sometimes hear reports about “reputation management” or “small business marketing” agencies that promise (for a fee, of course) to help businesses remove negative reviews and gain more positive reviews on Yelp. Some of these agencies imply that they have a special relationship with Yelp or even lead business owners to believe that they are acting on behalf of Yelp.
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 by filing a lawsuit against a recurring offender named Revleap.
Revleap, which has cycled through various names including “Yelpdirector” and “Revpley,” has spammed businesses with unsolicited messages claiming that they can get good reviews to stick and remove bad reviews. One thing Revleap actually does, it seems, is bombard their clients’ customers with surveys. Customers that respond favorably, and agree to post a review, are entered in a drawing for gift cards in an effort to deceptively boost their clients’ reputations.
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.
We hope that taking action against Revleap will put a stop to their misleading practices and also help businesses distinguish between companies that are playing by the rules and those that are using Yelp’s name to make a dollar by taking advantage of unsuspecting small businesses.