Levitt v. Yelp! Inc.

Filing 52

Declaration of S. ASHLIE BERINGER in Support of #51 MOTION to Dismiss FIRST AMENDED CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT AND TO STRIKE CLASS ACTION ALLEGATIONS; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES filed byYelp! Inc.. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit, #2 Exhibit, #3 Exhibit, #4 Exhibit)(Related document(s) #51 ) (Beringer, Susan) (Filed on 10/22/2010)

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Levitt v. Yelp! Inc. Doc. 52 Att. 2 Exhibit 2 Dockets.Justia.com FAQ | Yelp Now in the UK! Friends' Activity 100 Sign Up for Yelp Log In Search for (e.g. taco, cheap dinner, Max's) Real people. Real reviews. Welcome About Me Near (Address, Neighborhood, City, State or Zip) San Francisco, CA Find Reviews Invite Friends Messaging Talk Events Sea mi subrcht Member Search Write a Review Frequently Asked Questions About Us | FAQ | Blog | Engineering Blog | Myths About Yelp | Press | Careers | Management | Yelp for Business Owners | Contact Us General What is Yelp? Is Yelp free? Why use Yelp? Who uses Yelp? What should I be reviewing on Yelp? Who can see me and my reviews? Can business owners message me after I review their business? Can business owners publicly comment on my reviews? Is Yelp in my hometown? What is the "Yelp Elite Squad"? What are "Sponsored Results"? I'm a business owner and some reviews disappeared from my business' page. What happened? Why does Yelp have a review filter? A review written by a real customer of mine was filtered - can you restore it? What causes certain reviews to be filtered ? Do filtered reviews affect the overall star rating of my business? Will Yelp remove bad reviews if a business pays for sponsorship? Does Yelp allow sponsors to move bad reviews to the bottom of their page? I'm a regular user (not a business owner) and my review isn't showing on a certain business's page when I'm logged out, but I still see it on my profile. What happened ? Is Yelp just a place for rants? How do the reviews break down by rating? How do I get the Useful, Funny, and Cool buttons at the bottom of my reviews? What is the source of business attribute information such as $$, Parking, Good for Kids, etc.? How is the review ordering for a business determined ? How is the ranking of search results determined ? Profile How do I verify my Yelp account? How do I change my basic account information ? How do I change my email address? Who can see my name? Can I Yelp under multiple accounts? What is a fan? What does "Follow This Reviewer" mean? What are Bookmarks? How do I remove a friend? How do I make sure my reviews show up in Facebook? Writing Reviews What makes for a great review? What should I review? Can I review a business I'm connected to? What if the business I'm reviewing gave me something for free or at a discount? What if I had a bad experience? Can I say something negative? Does Yelp ever remove reviews? Invite How do I invite friends? Privacy What does Yelp do with my personal information ? Membership How do I cancel my Yelp membership? Local Business Photos What kind of photos should I attach to business listings? Yelp Talk What is Yelp Talk? What should I post on Yelp Talk? What's not OK on Yelp Talk?' Yelp for Businesses You own or manage a business and you've been Yelped?' General What is Yelp? Yelp is an online urban city guide that helps people find cool places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play, based on the informed opinions of a vibrant and active community of locals in the know. Yelp is the fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what's great -- and not so great -- in your world. Is Yelp free? Yes! Other than certain advertising features on the site, you can use the site for free. Why use Yelp? Why not just email friends or ask them in person? Yelp stands out from traditional word of mouth: By creating an easy and fun way for real locals to share opinions on the places they know and go. http://www.yelp.com/faq[10/21/2010 12:07:17 PM] FAQ | Yelp By fostering a vibrant community of locals who feel connected both on Yelp and, gasp, in the real world. And, by connecting the well-written and insightful reviews to the actual human beings who wrote them. We call that "Real People, Real Reviews". Who uses Yelp? There isn't a person out there who doesn't need to Yelp now and then, but Yelp's main users include: Locals who are always in the know about what's cool and happening in their city, and enjoy sharing this knowledge. Real people who have visited a place or used a service -- and want to share their real-life experiences and opinions with friends and other Yelpers. Visitors from other places or who have just moved to a particular city who want to quickly get an insider's local perspective. Anyone who wants to find current and reliable reviews about something in a given neighborhood, city or area. What should I be reviewing on Yelp? Yelp is meant for just about any sort of local service or destination. Our biggest categories today are restaurants, bars, salons and retail businesses, but you can also use Yelp to find reviews of everything, from doctors to tennis pros to parks and museums. Who can see me and my reviews? Visitors to Yelp can see your first name and last initial (e.g., Jeremy S.), and can read your reviews. Only registered Yelp users may vote on your reviews ("Useful", "Funny", "Cool") or send you messages. Can business owners message me after I review their business? Business owners are real people too and sometimes they'd like to reach out to the people who have reviewed their business. We've created a feature that allows business owners to privately message those who have reviewed their business. If you'd prefer not to be contacted by business owners, you may change your settings here . Can business owners publicly comment on my reviews? We've created a feature that allows business owners to publicly comment on a review. You'll be able to message the business owner if they post a public comment on your review. Is Yelp in my hometown? While Yelp was started in San Francisco, we're fostering active communities across the world. Currently, you can find us in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France. What is the "Yelp Elite Squad"? The Yelp Elite Squad is our way of recognizing and rewarding those Yelpers who are active Yelp evangelists and role models, both on and off the site. Elite -worthiness is based on a number of things, some of which include well-written and personal reviews of local businesses and services, being accountable for those reviews (use of a real name and photo, etc.), creating useful lists, voting on reviews and complimenting other Yelpers, and good citizenship on Yelp Talk. When the thousands of readers who visit Yelp see that Yelp Elite badge on a member's profile, we want them to rest assured in the warm and fuzzy knowledge that it stands for all that Yelp - and the Yelp community - can be! If you think you or someone you know might be ready to be Yelp Elite, send us an email telling us why to yes@yelp.com! For more on the Yelp Elite Squad, visit http://www.yelp.com/elite. What are "Sponsored Results"? When you do a search or look at a business you may see Sponsored Results, these are advertisements paid for by local businesses. For more information on opportunities for businesses to enhance their profile on Yelp, please visit http://www.yelp.com/business. I'm a business owner and some reviews disappeared from my business' page. What happened? Reviews may not be featured on your business page for a few different reasons: A user may have removed his or her review. Yelp may have removed the review for violating our Review Guidelines or Terms of Service. The review may have been suppressed by Yelp's review filter. The filter decides how established a particular reviewer is and whether a review will be shown based on the reviewer's involvement on Yelp. The process is entirely automated to avoid human bias, and it affects both positive and negative reviews. Since users can become more or less established over time, their reviews can disappear and reappear over time as well. Either way, we never actually delete these reviews, and they can still be found on the reviewer's personal profile page. These filtered reviews are also viewable by clicking on the link at the bottom of your business page. This system proves frustrating for some because it sometimes affects perfectly legitimate reviews. The flip side is that it helps protect against fake reviews from malicious competitors and disgruntled former employees. We created a video that explains our review filter here. Note: Our support team cannot manually restore reviews that have been filtered. Should you contact us about filtered reviews you will receive the information above. Why does Yelp have a review filter? Some reviewers are more credible than others. For the most part, users can decide for themselves which reviewers they trust the most. We remove some of the guesswork by filtering out reviews that are written by less established users. We do this in order to provide more trustworthy and useful content to our users and to help protect against fake reviews from malicious competitors and disgruntled former employees. Our CEO, Jeremy, wrote a blogpost to explain this further here. A review written by a real customer of mine was filtered - can you restore it? No. The review filter is entirely automated, so we cannot manually restore filtered reviews or manually filter a review. We are aware that reviews that reflect perfectly legitimate experiences are sometimes filtered out by the review filter's algorithmic processes. We agree this can be frustrating, but keep in mind that this same filter protects against fake reviews from malicious competitors and disgruntled former employees. What causes certain reviews to be filtered? The review filter suppresses reviews written by less established users. We're purposely not elaborating about all the variables that go into defining an "established" user, because it's a Catch-22: the more descriptive we are about what makes an established user, the less effective our filter is at fighting shills and malicious content. Do filtered reviews affect the overall star rating of my business? No. The overall star rating does not include filtered reviews -- it is based on the active reviews that are showing on your business page. http://www.yelp.com/faq[10/21/2010 12:07:17 PM] FAQ | Yelp Will Yelp remove bad reviews if a business pays for sponsorship? Absolutely not. Reviews of Yelp sponsors and non-sponsors are treated identically, and any complaints are handled by the same user support team, operating under the same Review Guidelines and Terms of Service. While non-sponsors receive free email support, sponsors also have an account manager they can contact. Account managers do not handle complaints about reviews, and any complaints they receive about specific reviews are handed off to the user support team. Only a member of the user support team can remove a review and this team is not part of the sales organization. Please note that members of our user support team do not receive compensation tied to sales performance. It's our version of checks and balances. As you probably realize, negative reviews are a normal part of doing business (what company has never had an upset customer?), so you shouldn't be surprised if you find the occasional negative review on your own page. While it's important to look for patterns in your reviews (bread is stale, a problem employee, flat sodas), you should take any individual perspective with a grain of salt. Does Yelp allow sponsors to move bad reviews to the bottom of their page? Absolutely not. Review order cannot be manipulated and is determined by Yelp Sort, our default ranking methodology that presents the most useful reviews to users. For example, the first review displayed for a business will be one that reflects the average star rating of a business. This methodology is applied to all businesses, sponsors or not. I'm a regular user (not a business owner) and my review isn't showing on a certain business's page when I'm logged out, but I still see it on my profile. What happened? Some reviewers are more credible than others. For the most part, users can decide for themselves which reviewers they trust the most. We remove some of the guesswork by filtering out reviews that are written by less established users. The process is entirely automated to avoid human bias, and it affects both positive and negative reviews. Since a user can become more or less established over time, your reviews can disappear and reappear over time as well. Either way, we never actually delete your reviews, and they can still be found on the your personal profile page. This system proves frustrating for some because it sometimes affects perfectly legitimate reviews. The flip side is that it helps protect against fake reviews from malicious competitors and disgruntled former employees. We created a video that explains the review filter here. Is Yelp just a place for rants? How do the reviews break down by rating? We crunched the numbers and here is what we've got (as of Sept 1, 2008): As you can see, the majority of the reviews on Yelp range from glowing to neutral (3 stars and up constitute 85% of all reviews). How do I get the Useful, Funny, and Cool buttons at the bottom of my reviews? Logged in users can vote for reviews they think are - you guessed it - Useful, Funny or Cool. When you are logged in, you will only see the "Edit" and "Remove" links below your reviews because you can't vote on your own reviews. But others will be able to vote for your review. Once your review starts to get votes, you will see the Useful, Funny and Cool vote counts at the bottom of your reviews. What is the source of business attribute information such as $$, Parking, Good for Kids, etc.? Certain subjective business attributes (price range of a business, kid-friendly, attire, etc.) are voted on by users who have reviewed the business. These attributes can change over time as more people review the business. Other more objective attributes (accepts credit cards, wheelchair accessible) can be set by the business owner if he/she has signed up for Business Owner's Account. How is the review ordering for a business determined? Yelp Sort attempts to show reviews that help consumers make informed decisions. For example, the first review displayed for a business will be one that reflects the average star rating of a business. The order is determined by recency, user voting, and other review quality factors, which is why an older review may appear before a newer one. This method is applied to all businesses, sponsors or not. Keep in mind when viewing a business, you can also sort the reviews a few ways - including by date, votes and star rating. How is the ranking of search results determined? Yelp's search results are based on an algorithm that is designed to provide the best results based on a number of different factors including but not limited to the number or reviews and the star rating of a business and the text of the reviews themselves. We are constantly working on improving our search results so that we can deliver the most relevant local results to our users. Profile How do I verify my Yelp account? When you've completed the registration process, you will receive an email with a special link. Click it to verify your account. When the verification message arrives in your email in-box, click the verification link, or copy and paste it into your browser. Your account will be verified at this point. If it doesn't work please let us know. How do I change my basic account information? To edit your profile or to change your account preferences, log in and click on the "Account Settings" link that appears at the top of any page. You will be able to edit your account preferences here. How do I change my email address? http://www.yelp.com/faq[10/21/2010 12:07:17 PM] FAQ | Yelp Your email addresses and password are found under "Account Settings" which appears in the upper right section of any page. Click that link and you will be taken to your Account Settings page, where you may edit any of your current settings. Who can see my name? Only your first name and last initial (e.g., Jeremy S.) will appear on the site. For more information about our use of your personal information, please see our privacy policy. Can I Yelp under multiple accounts? No. It's not ok for you to write multiple reviews from multiple accounts about the same business, so we delete multiple accounts when we see them. What is a fan? Users can "follow" you (see the "Follow This Reviewer" links on user profiles) and in doing so they become your fan. You won't be able to see their identity, but they are showing their appreciation for your passionate Yelping and they'll also see your reviews first when browsing any businesses you've reviewed. What does "Follow This Reviewer" mean? By clicking this link on a user's profile you'll be showing your appreciation for their reviews by becoming their fan. Also you'll see their reviews first whenever you browse a business they've reviewed. What are Bookmarks? Similar to bookmarks in your web browser, bookmarks on Yelp are a way for you to mark a business or review so you can remember to come back to it later. Bookmark buttons are conveniently located at the top of each business listing and at the bottom of business reviews. Clicking on a bookmark button adds that business to your list. You and others may look at your bookmark list by going to your profile and clicking on the "Bookmark" tab at the top of the profile. Users can always see their own bookmarks but may want to keep it private and prevent others from seeing it. "Private" can be clicked at the top of their listing. "Make Public" is the default and will allow anyone to see your bookmark list. How do I remove a friend? Click on the "Account" link (upper right), then click on "Manage All Friends," pick the Friend you wish to remove, scroll down and click the "Remove Friend" button. How do I make sure my reviews show up in Facebook? The best way to get your reviews to show up in your feed is to do the following: Log in to Yelp. Click on Account. Click on External Services and follow the instructions to publish your reviews to Facebook and Twitter. Writing Reviews What makes for a great review? Yelp reviews are useful, funny and cool because people like you take the time to share thoughtful insights on local businesses and services. The best reviews are personal and experiential, and tend to offer helpful suggestions, perhaps even an insider tip or two. The most useful reviews sometimes make mention of unique qualities that make the business special or the type of person who might also like this business. You can now write a review update when you have a new experience to share about a business, but updating with only a re-hash of your original experience isn't useful, funny, or cool. What should I review? Any local business, service or place with a physical presence is fair game for being reviewed on Yelp. Think: restaurants, shops, bars, salons, spas, dentists, mechanics, parks, museums, etc. Can I review a business I'm connected to? You should not review your own business or a business at which you have been or are currently employed. What if the business I'm reviewing gave me something for free or at a discount? You should never accept freebies or discounts in exchange for reviews. For example, if a bar owner offers you a free drink in exchange for a 5-star review, you should not accept his or her offer. Of course it's ok if you were given something for free or at a discount independent of your review, but you should always disclose any special treatment, gifts, or discounts in your review. For example, if the restaurant manager gave you free appetizers on opening night, you should include that information in your review. Yelping is about real, honest reviews, so while we're happy you had an extra special experience, we ask you to tell us (your readers) the whole story. What if I had a bad experience? Can I say something negative? Sure. We want to hear about your good experiences and your bad ones. Be sure to include all the relevant facts and details. But whether it's a positive review or a negative one, please keep in mind that your opinions are generally protected but posting false information can have legal ramifications . Does Yelp ever remove reviews? Rarely. But in some cases a member of the Yelp team will remove a review (and will typically email the writer to let them know) if it doesn't follow these guidelines: Conflicts of interest. Your reviews should be unbiased and objective. If there's any hint of a conflict, please don't post the review. For example, owners shouldn't sing the praises of their own businesses or bash their competitors, and users shouldn't comment on their current or former employers. Second-hand experiences and hearsay. For example, you can't give a deli a bad review because your co-worker complained about his chicken salad. Your reviews must be about your personal experiences, not someone else's. Personal attacks. We can handle strong language, but there's no need for lewdness, hate speech and other displays of bigotry. Your friends probably know when you're being funny, but the millions of people who read reviews on Yelp may not. Relevance. Reviews aren't the place for rants about a business's employment practices, political ideologies, or other matters that don't address the core of the normal customer experience. Plagiarism. Use your own words to tell us about your experience with a local business, but don't lift something from another website. Blank reviews. A review without text is like a fish without water. Don't be shy, use that smart noggin and write! http://www.yelp.com/faq[10/21/2010 12:07:17 PM] FAQ | Yelp Additionally, some reviews may be suppressed by our review filter which determines what reviews are shown on a business page. This system is designed to protect consumers and businesses alike from fake reviews (i.e., a malicious review from a competitor or a planted review from an ex-employee). These filtered reviews are viewable by clicking on the link at the bottom of each business page. Invite How do I invite friends? Yelp is so much better when the people you know are here. So invite all your friends, family and work colleagues, maybe even some enemies just as long as they have some good reviews! Click on the "Invite Friends" tab in the header of any page on Yelp, and enter the email addresses of the people you'd like to invite to join your network.' We've already created an invitation message for you, but feel free to personalize it. The invitation will automatically contain your first and last name as entered in your Yelp account settings, and will contain your email address in the "From:" line. When you're finished customizing your message, just click "Send." The invitation will include a link that brings your friend to Yelp, where they'll be able to read more about why Yelp is the fun and easy way to make, recommend and talk about what's great in their world. If they accept your invitation, they'll automatically appear in your network. Privacy What does Yelp do with my personal information? We take privacy very seriously and we hate spam even more than you do. Please take the time to review our privacy policy so you can see exactly what we do with your personal information. If you receive spammy messages from another Yelp member, or if you receive a message that is harassing, abusive, or contains a violation of our Terms of Service, please report it here. Membership How do I cancel my Yelp membership? To cancel your Yelp membership, please click here. If you don't mind telling us, we'd love to hear why you want to leave. While Yelp continues to evolve your feedback makes a big difference. If there's something you found unsatisfying about Yelp, tell us about it and we'll do our best to try to do better. Local Business Photos What kind of photos should I attach to business listings? Photos should be broadly representative of the business and not an extension of your review. Think about how best to capture the general public's first impression of the business. On rare occasions, we remove content that doesn't follow these guidelines: Irrelevance. Photos of the interior and exterior of a business are great, but close-ups of you and your friends are better uploaded to your account profile. Malicious captions. Feel free to describe your photo, but your review is the best place to express your opinion. Yelp Talk What is Yelp Talk? Yelp Talk is a place for fun, open, honest and real discussions about the goings on in your community. And while it's easy to quickly engage and post on Talk, remember anyone in the community can read your responses. What should I post on Yelp Talk? We'd love to hear about... Sound off on things to do: "Who has the best happy hour in town?" Share your local knowledge: Know an answer to a question on Talk? Do tell! Celebrity spotting: "I just saw Brangelina at the corner of Hollywood and Vine." Imagine it. All the best local conversations being driven by you and Yelpers like you. What's not OK on Yelp Talk? We all want Yelp to be a vibrant and healthy local community, so this means living with some common sense social norms that we like to think of as Yelp-worthy behavior. Bad behavior makes Talk less fun for everyone, so avoid the following: Vicious or lewd name-calling Threatening anyone with harm Incessantly harassing or fighting with others Hate speech (racial slurs, bigotry, etc.) Posting personally identifiable information of other Yelpers (full names, email addresses, phone numbers, addresses) Posting on Talk under multiple identities by the same person Unwelcome promotion of a business or event http://www.yelp.com/faq[10/21/2010 12:07:17 PM] FAQ | Yelp Posting off-topic Talk posts Generally, not being cool When we are made aware of Yelpers engaging in these behaviors, we have no choice but to consider taking action including possible suspension of the offending Yelper's account. So please, let's all keep it civil and enjoy this open forum for local discussion. Yelp for Businesses You own or manage a business and you've been Yelped? That's exciting! For more tips on how Yelp can help you put your business' best foot forward, please visit our Yelp for Business resource located at http://www.yelp.com/business/. About About Yelp Yelp Blog Press Terms of Service Privacy Policy Help FAQ Contact Us Business Owners Developers More Careers Yelp Mobile The Weekly Yelp RSS Top Searches Countries United States Canada United Kingdom Ireland France Germany Language English Site Map | Atlanta | Austin | Boston | Chicago | Dallas | Denver | Detroit | Honolulu | Houston | Los Angeles | Miami | Minneapolis | New York | Philadelphia | Portland | Sacramento | San Diego | San Francisco | San Jose | Seattle | Washington, DC | More Cities Copyright 2004-2010 Yelp http://www.yelp.com/faq[10/21/2010 12:07:17 PM]

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