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Yelp

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Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.

Yelp is a multinational corporation headquartered in San Francisco, California. It develops and markets a set of software and services to provide consumers with information about local businesses. [1]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Yelp was a member of Communications and Technology Task Force in 2013,[2] and also joined the Civil Justice Task Force[3] on June 28, 2013.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.

YELP Drops ALEC Membership in 2014

On September 24, 2014 Yelp announced it was leaving ALEC and issued the following statement:

Yelp allowed its membership in ALEC to expire months ago and we did not join Google in Dallas at the meeting in July. When we joined in 2013 we were very specific and transparent about our goals: to encourage the adoption of model anti-SLAPP legislation. Anti-SLAPP laws make it tough to bring meritless lawsuits against individuals that have shared their honest opinions online. It should be no surprise that at Yelp, we're highly supportive of any effort to promote and protect free speech online; we advocate for free speech on both sides of the aisle. We found ALEC provided a unique forum to bring a good idea to the table. Our approach was not without irony and it invited a backlash, yet to ALEC's credit, our model bill passed unanimously: the Public Participation Protection Act -- a model bill we advanced to protect consumers from bullying -- is live on ALEC.org today, and we hope lawmakers in states across the country are able to draw inspiration from it for years to come. Given that our very specific goal was achieved, we allowed our membership to expire.

Amidst the backlash to our joining, we had a direct conversation with the ALEC leadership and encouraged more transparency within the organization. Specifically, we suggested ALEC invite C-SPAN to fully cover their meetings. Such sunlight on the organization would exert important pressure on ALEC to steer clear of controversial issues it has taken up in the past, while revealing to the broader public that providing a forum for policy makers and industry leaders to collaborate can result in consumer benefit (as was our experience). [4]


References

  1. About Yelp, accessed September 2014
  2. Yelp Joins With Advocacy Group ALEC to Fight SLAPP Lawsuits, The Daily Beast, accessed September 2014
  3. ALEC 40th Anniversary Annual Meeting Board Meeting packet, organizational documents, August 6, 2013, released by The Guardian December 3, 2013.
  4. Facebook and Yelp Are Also Fleeing From ALEC, National Journal, accessed September 2014