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Re: “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

Until the United States enacts laws that govern social media websites and the onslaught of the “rag and rage” websites such as yelp.com, brownbook.net, and the like that masquerade as informational open forum places, “We The People” of the United Sates of America”, will have to endure the joy or embarrassment, respectively, of those who truly and accurately exercise their freedom of speech or those who simply are malicious and false in their comments. The fact is all too often the unfounded and unproven accusations reek havoc on us individually or as a small business. The European Union and the United Kingdom are much more proactive with rules and laws that govern privacy, libel, and slander than is the United States. While the United States Government has enacted laws to protect, define, and outlaw the use of the internet for the purposes of child pornography and pedophilia, they have neglected to protect citizens that are not minor children. Countless individuals and every size business are falling prey to these “rag and rage” websites.

Brownbook.net is a business licensed in England and yelp.com a business licensed in the United States both of whose website’s are ironically are hosted in the San Francisco area. These two rouge companies are two prime examples of “rag and rage” business that undermine the very essence of civility and actively cultivate a negative atmosphere giving voice to bogus praise and unmerited criticisms that effect individuals and businesses and the trend is exploding.

Let us first address the elementary subject of “a right to privacy” as it relates to retail businesses. Most of the businesses found via Robots that root around retail web sites to gather information and then convert their findings and post them on websites that subsequently derive profits for the information they steel. Brick and motor retail stores, restaurants, dry cleaners, lawyers, doctors and very profession, occupation, or business in-between are also subject to uninvited scrutiny as these web sites allow adding the aforementioned and encouraging postings which in turn adds to their database giving these unscrupulous businesses an ever expanding database. It is this authors belief that a business that engages in an online presence is there to conduct business not to have their websites crawled by these urchin robots only to have their information stolen and reposted without permission.

Conversely, legitimate search engines such as Google, MSN, Yahoo, and the like serve to organize the data they gather so that the web surfers are able to locate, via keywords, information relevant to their search.

At the very least, I believe that robots should be mandated to gain permission to access any website and the purpose for their visit be specific and limited as to its’ scope. I am confident that President Obama’s Cyber Tsar, Howard Schmidt, is concentrating his departments energies on national security relevant to the internet but I would hope that a segment of his focus is on individuals and businesses right to privacy relevant to the internet. Many good people and small businesses are adversely affected by the lack of protections provided by our government against rogue companies who seek financial gains via dubious tactics.

I implore the media to bring these matters to the forefront and I would urge that our legislators address this growing concern post haste.

Posted by 1morefish on 03/21/2010 at 10:32 AM

Re: “Yelp Extortion Allegations Stack Up

If you think yelp is bad you should checkout brownbook.net where they seem to encourage bad reviews and accept those ominous "anonymous postings" gleefully. (i.e. http://searchengineland.com/how-to-handle-…) This consortium while registered in the United Kingdom, uses a hosting company in the Bay Area as does yelp.
To those who are brave enough to join in a class action suit, I applaud you; please lead the way so that others may follow your lead.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by 1morefish on 03/20/2010 at 1:08 PM

Re: “Yelp Extortion Allegations Stack Up

I implore the media to bring these matters to the forefront and I would urge that our legislators address this growing concern post haste.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by 1morefish on 03/20/2010 at 11:58 AM

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