Is Yelp Fighting a Conspiracy Theory?

A judge in a San Diego small claims court advises you not mess with Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP). The local search site was back in court Tuesday after just last month, representatives from the company fought allegations of unfair business practices. Yelp ended up paying $2,700, but now the case will be taken to a higher court on appeal.

Back in April, Yelp paid up in the San Diego courtroom, and this time, The McMillan Law Group, which brought the case against Yelp, is coming back with a different strategy. The group initially had an advertising contract with Yelp, but after the search site failed to deliver on the stipulations its contract promised, the firm cancelled the contract and asked for its money back. While Yelp’s representative claimed a misunderstanding in the outline of the contract, The McMillan Law Group then contended that when McMillan tried to pull out after Yelp did not deliver its allotted ad impressions, its visibility and positive views on the search site declined.

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This isn’t the first time Yelp has been charged with tyrannical business practices. The claim has been raised many times in the past, as the site’s CEO Jeremy Stoppleman rolls his eyes and cites the “typical Yelp conspiracy theory.” Yelp doesn’t believe the judgement of the small claims court will hold in the higher appeals court, telling The Wall Street Journal, “An appeal against the judgement will take place in a more experienced court where lawyers from both sides can argue facts not opinion, and expect a ruling based on actual facts.”

Mr. McMillan doesn’t see it that way. Because the claim has been brought against the company many times, he is appealing to other small businesses who have had disputes with Yelp to help him hail another victory.

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