SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – San Francisco-based online review giant Yelp has gone on defense, as a Kickstarter for a movie criticizing the site’s business practices has raised more than $50,000 in one week.
The movie, titled “Billion Dollar Bully” has raised $51,703 from 442 backers as of Thursday night, nearing filmmaker Kaylie Milliken’s goal of $60,000.
A trailer for the movie features business owners and lawyers accusing Yelp of “extortion.” They claim the site shows more negative reviews when owners refuse to pay for advertising on Yelp, a claim the site repeatedly denies.
As the filmmakers raise money, Yelp has attempted to dispute the claims. Milliken was confronted by Shannon Els, Yelp’s vice president of corporate communications on CNBC this week.
“They sent in this person to discredit me, and I’m just so surprised. I mean, we’re raising money on Kickstarter to do this indie documentary,” Milliken told the New York Observer.
According to the Observer, Yelp also accuses the filmmaker of a conflict of interest by creating multiple accounts on the site and posting fake reviews. Milliken claims she created the profiles for her investigation.
With the money she raised, Milliken hopes to finish the film by fall and submit the film in upcoming festivals.