Are Yelp Reviewers Actually Unpaid Writers? Lawsuit Compares Website to 'Slave Ship'

By Adam Ramirez on October 31, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Disgruntled Yelp reviewers have filed a class-action lawsuit demanding compensation for the reviews they post on the site. We are not making this up, this is an actual lawsuit (attached below).

The reviewers claim they are actually unpaid employees and legally deserve pay for their contributions, given the importance of the reviews to Yelp's business model.

"Yelp earns its income by selling advertising on its site, the content of which is created free-of-wages by hordes of solicited posters, in violation of the Federal Labor Standard Act," the lawsuit alleges.

The over-zealous California attorney who filed the complaint doesn't stop there. He proceeds to compare Yelp to slave owners.

"Business journal commentators have compared said business practices to a 21st-century galley slave ship with pirates banging the drum to keep up the fast pace and to fill the pockets of their stockholders with treasure... and with 'overhead that would shame an antebellum plantation."

Yelp doesn't appear concerned about the lawsuit dismissing it as "frivolous" to Fast Company.

Yelp Reviewers are 'Unpaid Writers,' Lawsuit Compares Website to Slave Ship

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