Photo courtesy of Bob Sinnott

Toasted Coffee + Kitchen owner Bob Sinnott alleges that positive reviews have disappeared from his Yelp page because he refused to pay the online review company for advertising.

WFAA picked up his post from the Facebook group Lakewood, Dallas (which Sinnott created) and the local business owner ended up on the news.

Sinnott told WFAA that Yelp harassed him with four calls a day about advertising, and when he gave final word that he would not pay, his ratings began to slip. Sinnott says that more bad reviews showed up and five star reviews disappeared.

In a statement to WFAA, a Yelp spokesman said “Any claims that Yelp manipulates reviews for money, or that advertisers are treated any differently than non-advertisers, are completely false and have been repeatedly dismissed by courts of law, thoroughly researched and disproven by academic study, and investigated by government regulators, including the FTC, who closed a nearly two-year investigation without taking action.”

Sinnott joins voices in a soon to be released documentary called “Billion Dollar Bully” explores mysterious negative reviews on YELP, where numerous business owners compare Yelp’s practices to extortion by the mafia.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.