We've been enjoying reading the onslaught of one- and two-star reviews about Yelp on its own site, ever since the extortion stories sprouted legs. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman denies the accusations, claiming the only things an advertiser pays for are a clearly-labeled "sponsored result" at the top of relevant search results pages, a photo slideshow of their business, and the option to highlight a favorite review.
From 2004 through 2007, the majority of the reviews on Yelp's review page were four- and five-star. Then in early 2008, business owners began using the page to speak out about Yelp's continual refusal to address obviously fake negative reviews, yet authentic positive reviews were mysteriously disappearing. Then, in late 2008, non-business owners started chiming in about how reviews they had written were disappearing (positive and negative).
It's funny how for a time Yelp was alienating businesses from their customers, and now the site has inadvertently brought them back together again in a growing united front against Yelp itself.