In early 2014, the FTC launched and investigation into Yelp after more than 2,045 complaints were filed alleging Yelp manipulated their reviews so their advertisers were given higher ratings than their competitors. However, Yelp has announced that the FTC’s almost year-long investigation has ended, and that the agency has decided to take no action. This is the second time that the FTC has investigated the company. The FTC closed the first investigation without any action as well. For now it appears that Yelp is in the clear as it relates to the FTC.
It is also worth noting that Yelp has already been successful in defending against claims that it gives preferential placement to businesses that purchase ads on the platform. The 9th Circuit’s opinion affirmed the lower court’s dismissal on the grounds that the Plaintiff had failed to state a claim for extortionate practices. It seems likely that the FTC came to the same conclusion about Yelp’s practices, and as a result ended their inquiry into the popular review site.