This Week In Small Business: Yelp Extortion, Covered California Corruption Concerns, and Kmart Hacked

Wow, it seems like all the business news this week is bad. I never like it when this is the sort of stuff I have to report. Yelp faces serious allegations of extortion from businesses who don’t advertise. Covered California faces public concern over corruption after $184 million in no-bid contracts were awarded. And it looks like Kmart is the newest hacking target in retail. All this in this week’s small business news.

Yelp Continues to Battle Extortion Claims by Businesses

Yelp has been having a rough time with many small businesses lately. Several businesses have filed lawsuits and made allegations that the popular review site causes ratings of a business to drop if they don’t advertise on Yelp. The allegations specify that positive reviews are removed from the business’ page if the advertising isn’t bought. Yelp denies all claims and alleges that any deleted reviews are removed by their “fraud-fighting” algorithm, which removes reviews that fit the qualifications of a fraudulent review. They acknowledge that these things happen and that they are unfortunate, but are not the result of extortion. Get all the info on CBS MoneyWatch.

California’s Health Insurance Exchange Awards $184 Million in No-Bid Contracts

This week the Associated Press reports that the Covered California exchange issued millions in no-bid government contracts, an action rarely existing outside of an emergency situation. Government contracts are typically bid on by contractors who can fulfill the requirements in order to create fair competition and prevent taxpayers from being preyed upon by unscrupulous companies. However, these no-bid contracts raised additional concerns when it was reported that $42 million in contracts went to companies with former business ties to the Covered California Executive Director, Mr. Peter Lee. Read the whole story on Fox News.

Kmart Hacked

It really doesn’t get more straightforward than that. Friday afternoon, Kmart announced that it faced a data breach that compromised it’s customers’ credit and debit cards (without PIN numbers). The scope of the breach has not been completely assessed, but it may be time to call your bank if you’re a regular Kmart shopper. Get the details from TechCrunch.

That’s the news for this week. Let us know what you thought and what we missed in the comments below, and have an awesome Monday!

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About the author:

Michael McNew
Web developer, marketing innovator, technology enthusiast, and founder of Visceral Concepts, Michael McNew has developed a passion for delivering value to small business, turning his creativity towards branding and content marketing for small business owners.