Minnesota Businesses Claim Yelp Withholds Positive Reviews for Cash

Categories: Business

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Michael Dorausch
A California district court threw out a class action lawsuit against Yelp in 2010 because the businesses that sued couldn't prove that Yelp authored bad reviews as a scare tactic.

The hugely popular customer review site Yelp is a one-stop source for making impulsive decisions on where to spend money.

Yet some small businesses on the receiving end of those reviews swear that Yelp has a way of manipulating the star rating system for cash.

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[UPDATE] Robbinsdale's Nyberg Photography Is Being Extorted on Yelp

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[UPDATE] Robbinsdale's Nyberg Photography Is Being Extorted on Yelp

Categories: Business, Crime

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Nyberg Photography
Nyberg Photography currently has zero stars on Yelp as the review site tries to figure out the scam.

When Brad Nyberg received an email from what seemed like a potential client asking about a photography session, he happily responded with information about his studio. But the subsequent response was less cordial. The emailer threatened to launch an online smear campaign against his business unless Nyberg paid $299.

Nyberg ignored the obvious scam, filing the correspondence away. But warnings kept coming. "Hey, I don't know if you got my last email, but negative reviews are going up now," read one. He ignored those too.

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Brittany and Eric Vacko Charged with $115,000 Welfare Swindle

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Republicans, Iron Range DFLers Want to Give Mines Free Reign to Pollute

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Photo from Wikimedia
When the prophets of the Ojibwe warned the tribe to migrate west or get overrun by colonists, they fought their way past the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy to settle in a land where "the food grows on water."

That was northern Minnesota, the sacred food wild rice.

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Will Mining Save or Destroy Northern Minnesota?


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Target Won't Pay Employee Erik Lundin's Workers' Comp

Categories: Business

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Photo by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig

Back in April 2012, Erik Lundin was unloading a box from the top of a truck that had been packed heavier than it was supposed to be. He lost his balance, twisted and smashed into the side wall of the trailer. He ended up with three disc herniations in his upper back.

At first, Target took responsibility for the accident. But then they faltered when it came down to actually paying for things like physical therapy and medication. They had Lundin see a company doctor, who claimed Lundin was fine - he had no long-term issues, but he had to have a 50 pound lifting restriction. Not related to the sprain in his back.

So Lundin faced Target in court. After about a year and half, the judge ruled the retail giant was liable for Lundin's medical bills after all.

See also:
arget Rescinds Job Offers for Entire Class of New Hires Just Weeks Before Start Date


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Freelance Reporter Randy Olson Goes Looking for Work, Impulse Buys Small-Town Newspaper

Categories: Business

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Courtesy of Randy Olson
Former Bonanza Valley Voice editor Kayla Johnson passes the torch to Randy Olson. Johnson's husband was publisher for 44 years.

Where the hell is Brooten, Minn.? Randy Olson is the one-man news machine who's trying to put the tiny town of 700 people on the map.

Back in 2005, Olson was a crop and livestock farmer. Dad passed away in a bull-goring incident and mom needed help on the farm. He did a bit of reporting on the side in those days just to whet his wordsmanship. Eventually, Olson signed on as editor of the Hoffman Tribune -- serving a population of about 400 -- and became a full-time sports reporter at the Saux Centre Herald.

When he hit up the Bonanza Valley Voice in November to see if the weekly newspaper had any work for him, the publisher talked him into buying the whole operation instead. Dazzled by the prospect of having 10 blank pages a week to do whatever in the world he wants with, Olson signed.

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Signature business: Behind the lucrative autograph industry

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Anti-abortion Bill Would Raise Taxes on Small Businesses That Provide Comprehensive Healthcare

Categories: Business, Health

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Photo by Elvert Barnes
40th March for Life on the U.S. Supreme Court

Anti-abortion bills are a dime a dozen, but as it turns out the latest one to pass the U.S. House of Representatives has some detrimental side effects for small businesses.
The House voted to pass the Republican-backed No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act on Thursday, the anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Roe v Wade, which establishes a woman's right to abortion.

The bill is the latest in an ongoing chronicle of Republican attempts to curtail abortion rights. Recently, the GOP-controlled House scheduled a vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned abortions for women beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy. That vote didn't pan out after House Republican women pushed back against party leaders and complained that the bill unfairly required rape victims seeking abortions to provide police reports. In 2013, a similar bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate.

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Bachmann worries women's museum honoring her will become "shrine to abortion" [VIDEO]

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New MNvest Bill Would Take Homegrown Crowdfunding to the Next Level

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MNvest Facebook
It's like Kickstarter, except instead of donations for goods or services anyone could buy dividend-paying shares in a venture
A new bill introduced in the state Senate last week would allow anyone in Minnesota to support homegrown entrepreneurs by buying a piece of their idea or company.

It's like Kickstarter on steroids. Kickstarter allows backers to prepay for goods or services. This initiative, called MNvest, would legalize crowdfunding equity. Backers buy a stake of an idea, product, or company by purchasing dividend-paying shares to help finance entrepreneurial dreams.

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Target Rescinds Job Offers for Entire Class of New Hires Just Weeks Before Start Date

Categories: Business

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Wikimedia
Super classy.

Vincent Zhang was fresh out of college when he landed a business analyst position with retail titan Target. In November he posted a celebratory announcement on Facebook: He was moving from sunny California to Minneapolis. He'd gotten an apartment, packed his winter clothes, booked his flight for a January start date.

On New Year's Eve, Target HR called him up. They were so sorry, they said, but they had to rescind job offers for the entire class of new hires that year due to budget constraints. There was an awkward silence. The HR rep nervously asked him what was on his mind -- encouraged him to vent if he wanted to.

"I'm just sitting there thinking I have nothing to say," Zhang said. "Even if I complain, I'm not getting my job back. And it's not even like, 'Oh, we'll bring you back at another time.' It was like, 'You are no more.' I was infuriated for like the first three days."

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Oops! Teddy Bridgewater's name misspelled on first batch of jerseys for sale at Target [PHOTO]


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Minnesotans Poised to Profit from Deadly Cold

Categories: Business, Winter

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Photo by kellinahandbasket
Ten minutes out there and it's instant frostbite.

It's going to be a week of subzero temperatures, deadly roads, and winds that feel like ice daggers in the face. Yet while students all over Minnesota have taken to Twitter to alternately flatter and threaten Gov. Mark Dayton for no-school days, some local businesses are reveling at the chance to reap unprecedented profits from historical chills.

The guys who are making light of the cold -- and big bucks -- on the dawn of Snowpocalypse II are your local auto shops, pizza delivery drivers, boot-makers, and babysitters (for the chosen school districts). Homegrown industrial giant Cargill has been working around the clock to fill salt storehouses in anticipation of brutal winter storms.

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St. Cloud Cathedral Kills Snow Days


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Essar's Frightening Track Record Shows a Serial Global Polluter

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CityPages Archive Photo

Essar, the Indian multinational that's about to create Minnesota's newest taconite mine in Nashwauk, was caught in Kentucky repeatedly submitting bogus water quality measurements to make its coal mining operation appear as if it wasn't violating pollution laws.

Unfortunately, that was just one episode in the company's banner 2014 crusade to lift its industrial leg on Mother Earth.

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Essar, Minnesota's New Mining Giant, Caught Repeatedly Falsifying Pollution Records

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