Here’s a twist on the “brand ambassador” and “crowdsourced content” trends: a group of hard-working Yelp “critics” has filed a class-action lawsuit demanding that the site pay them for writing so many reviews of the businesses they love and hate.
You may think this is “incredibly stupid” given the fact that the reviewers volunteered their time and (debatable) skills and that Yelp never promised to pay them. But it’s a little more complicated than that.
The argument here: while Yelp aggressively goes after companies that pay for reviews (and PR firms that post them), the company also encourages its most prolific members to post more often by offering “trinkets, badges, titles, praise, social promotion, free liquor, free food, and free promotional Yelp attire, such as red panties with ‘Make Me Yelp!’ stamped across its bottom.”
Ha ha. And Yelp can’t honestly say that it never pays contributors with money, either.