June 26, 2015

Love Wins: In Support of Marriage Equality

Today’s Supreme Court ruling to legalize same-sex marriage is a historic moment for equality and human rights in America. I am so grateful for the positive impact this verdict will have on the lives of Yelp employees, our millions of users, and small business owners across the U.S.

I’m proud to add my voice to the chorus of others speaking out in celebration and support of this ruling, and I applaud the numerous individuals and organizations who fought for so long to make this change possible.

This ruling couldn’t have come at a better time. In San Francisco, we’re getting excited to celebrate the culmination of Pride Week on Sunday, June 28th, by marching in the SF Pride parade with more than 500 Yelp employees and family members. We’re proud to stand alongside many other Bay Area companies and residents to show our support for marriage equality and LGBT rights.

If you’re in San Francisco, come out and join us. Either way, keep an eye out for updates from the event on our social media channels to share in what is sure to be a pretty impressive party. #YelpPride2015

Yelp Pride Shirt

June 25, 2015

Survey: Yelp is #1 Choice for Finding Doctors, Lawyers & Home Service Providers

According to three independent studies conducted by Software Advice, a software insights resource for business owners, Yelp is the most popular choice for people who use review sites to find a doctor, attorney or home service provider.

Most people already think of Yelp when searching for their next great meal, but every kind of local business can be reviewed on Yelp, and it’s great to hear that consumers are turning to us to inform their spending decisions on all kinds of purchases. Some highlights from the studies:

  • Yelp is ranked as the #1 most popular and most trusted website for attorney reviews

  • 74% of people who used a review site to search for home service providers used Yelp

  • Yelp is used more often than Healthgrades, RateMDs, Vitals and ZocDoc to find a doctor

Hungry for more? Read the full research findings of the studies, which were not commissioned by Yelp, and check out the graphics below for more insight into consumer preferences when researching online.

Study: Use of Online Reviews to Select Residential Service Providers

Study: How Clients Use Online Legal Reviews

Study: Patient Use of Online Reviews

 

MedicalServices_Infograph_v2

 

 

Continue reading "Survey: Yelp is #1 Choice for Finding Doctors, Lawyers & Home Service Providers" »

June 24, 2015

Millennials Love Working at Yelp: Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials

Yelp is now almost 11 years old with more than 3,000 employees. Going from one room with a handful of employees and a precocious office puppy to eight global offices and departments with hundreds of employees is quite the change, and we wouldn’t have made it without fantastic employees steering the ship. Now when we recruit a candidate, we can show them the career path ahead of them and what it would be like to join our team. Thankfully, they seem to like what they see. We’re honored to announce that Yelp is one of Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials, a ranking determined by survey feedback from our employees.

Out of 465 companies reviewed by Great Place to Work, 315 companies reported survey results from at least 50 employees under age 35. Of those, Yelp ranked #41 based on survey feedback directly from the Millennials on our team.

Values_2015_US_Unboring

Yelp employees demonstrating one of our values - Be Unboring!

While we’re so proud to be recognized as a place Millennials love to work, our goal at Yelp is to be an inclusive workplace for all generations, and we understand that people have different preferences and needs. A good step to addressing those needs and creating a comfortable work environment is listening closely to what employees say they need. So instead of us talking about why Yelp is a great place to work, we thought it would be more interesting to hear from someone on the Yelp team who is living the Millennial dream.

Stephanie T., our director of support for Yelp Eat24 and a Millennial who’s been at Yelp for more than four years (previously as a product manager leading our international expansion team), shared her insight on four things that companies can do to motivate Millennials and why tech is the perfect industry for the Gen Y set on Medium. Here’s an excerpt:

1) Make work about me and I will make my life about work

Wikipedia calls Millennials a generation of “Me” workers, and it isn’t hard to see the technology industry as a perfect fit for us. Make your own schedule (I show up to work at the time that works for me). A workplace that caters its facilities to the individual (How good is your office’s onsite cafe?). Boundless opportunity to make a difference (In software, anything is possible!).

So I’ll say it: as a generation, we Millennials expect a lot. But we also give a lot! Keeping in touch with work email from one’s phone, connecting with colleagues through Facebook and taking your latest project home with you are regular practices, and natural habits, of many tech employees. Then you look around at the office and the kegs, coffee baristas and find yourself searching for bars in San Francisco as part of your job -- and the lines between home life and work life suddenly look very blurry for many of us.

2) I want to feel like I am growing at the pace of my product

With its accessible tools and broad distribution channel, software lends itself very naturally to creating large, scalable output, quickly. The cycle of making mistakes, learning from them, and evolving one’s approaches and efforts can also happen very quickly. That’s the kind of iterative growth that used to take years of experience.

In San Francisco tech, staying at a job longer than a couple years (and sometimes months) is considered very long, and almost everyone gets started right after college. At Yelp, many of the more senior people I work with are in their twenties. It’s awesome to see that even without the age or tenure of those roles at more traditional industries, these individuals have been able to experience many of the same challenges and been able to grow accordingly.

Read the rest of Stephanie’s post on Medium, and see the full list of 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials on Fortune.com. We’re in good company!

Say “Mabuhay!” to Yelp in the Philippines!

Pop quiz! Which Southeast Asian archipelago is home to 100 million people, 7,107 islands, 23 active volcanoes, a teeny tiny primate, and countless Jeepneys? It’s the Philippines, the world’s second largest archipelago and the 32nd international market to join the Yelp community.

The history of the Philippines is a story of great cultural diversity. Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival in 1521 ushered in an era of Spanish influence and plenty of edible newcomers - like the tomatoes, potatoes, chilis, and corn that are now central to Filipino cuisine. Centuries of trade with Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Islamic cultures brought even greater cultural and gustatory variety to the country, which still persists.

Fast forward a few hundred years, and today, the Philippines is one of the most modern countries in Asia. Well-connected Filipinos are active on social media and the country is the texting capital of the world, sending  over 1 billion text messages per day. English is widely spoken and is considered a second language, making the Philippines the sixth largest English-speaking nation in the world.

Intramuros


Yelp Philippines Badge



























If there’s one trait common to Filipino culture, it’s a dedication to food. Whether you prefer budget bites at carinderias or turo-turos or a full-fledged fiesta feast with lechon, caldereta (or even the local version of spaghetti!), you’ll always find the country’s wide mix of influences come together beautifully in the cuisine. As if you needed more enticement, the country’s hospitality means you’re always sure to be welcomed with a big smile wherever you go.

Yelp’s community efforts kick off in the capital city, Manila. Manila is truly a megacity - it’s one of the densest cities in the world - and its close quarters are the perfect place for Yelpers to start sharing their opinions on what’s great across the country.

Despite the tropical heat and humidity, you can find plenty of ways to stay cool in Manila by logging on to Yelp.com.ph and downloading Yelp’s mobile app to explore all the Philippines has to offer. Yelp in the Philippines is available in both English and Filipino (or Tagalog), our 18th language. Business owners can get in on the action too at biz.yelp.com.ph by claiming their Yelp Business Page for free.

 

June 19, 2015

Learning from Yelp’s Elite Community: 2015 ACRONYM Council

Yelp’s community plays an integral role in our success, not only by contributing the reviews and photos that make our site such a valuable resource, but also by giving us feedback on usability and new site and app features they’d like to see. One of the ways we gather information about how people are using Yelp and getting involved in their local Yelp communities is through our ACRONYM group, or Advisory Council for Really Outstanding National Yelp Members (see what we did there? Puns for days…).

Each year, new council members are chosen to participate in monthly calls with Yelp’s corporate team and product managers, and attend an annual summit at Yelp headquarters in San Francisco. This year’s awesome local Yelp ACRONYMs hail from 10 different cities across the US:

Houston, TX - Rachel B.

Honolulu, HI - Natalie N.

Richmond Hill, ON - Kat K.

Memphis, TN - Kontji A.

Atlanta, GA - Daniel B.

Wethersfield, CT - Anne C.

Albuquerque, NM - Robert B.

Los Angeles, CA - Zoie H.

Hoboken, NJ - Tyler R.

Jacksonville, FL - Kristina K.

ACRONYM2015
Group shot! ACRONYM members strike a pose in Yelp’s San Francisco lobby.

 

At this year’s summit, ACRONYM members were able to talk writing with our chief editor Vivek S, they learned more about the CM role from SF Yelp Community Director Abby S, they heard personal accounts from the early days at Yelp from COO Geoff D and Co-Founder Jeremy S, and they were able to be Product Managers for a day with Yelp Product Managers Ely L, Brian B, and Joseph L to see how the Yelp magic gets made.

In addition to meeting some of the people behind Yelp, ACRONYMers were able to enjoy San Francisco like true locals, indulging in beloved gems such as Bacon Bacon burgers at SOMA StrEAT Food Park, Olive oil drizzled soft serve at Zero Zero, Adzuki Bean French Toast at B-Star, and Coconut tea from Aroma Tea Shop. And what trip to SF would be complete without a stop at Green Apple Books and an afternoon walk through Golden Gate Park?

ACRONYM members share thoughts on why they love being a part of the Yelp community and what it all means for local businesses in this video:

June 03, 2015

Data Science Challenge: Predict Restaurant Health Scores with Yelp Data

Yelp connects people with local businesses and along the way we’ve gathered rich data about customers’ experiences at those businesses via reviews, tips, check-ins and business attributes. We are constantly asking ourselves how the collective wisdom of Yelpers can be used to help society. A couple years ago we began working with cities to share restaurant health scores on Yelp, but that’s just the beginning. Could we use Yelp’s reviews and business information to make the process of sending Health Inspectors to restaurants more efficient? We think so and are challenging data scientists worldwide to design a health inspection prediction algorithm, using Yelp data.

Yelp is co-sponsoring a new Data Science contest “Keeping it Fresh“ in collaboration with the City of Boston, DrivenData.org and Harvard University economists (Ed, Andrew, Scott, and Mike). Using Yelp’s data for restaurants, food and nightlife businesses in Boston as well as past history of health inspections, we are asking contestants to predict the future health score that will be assigned to a business at their next health inspection.

Healthscore-1024x360

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 48 million Americans per year become sick from food, and an estimated 75% of the outbreaks came from food prepared by caterers, delis, and restaurants. Currently, inspectors are sent to restaurants in a mostly random fashion. Since cities only have a limited number of health inspectors, quite often their time is wasted on spot checks at clean, rule-abiding restaurants. This also means that sometimes restaurants with poor health and safety records are discovered too late.

It turns out that with Yelp’s data, cities can improve the process of assigning Health Inspectors drastically. A research study by Professor Michael Luca from Harvard Business School and Professor Yejin Choi from Stony Brook University and their graduate students found that a model built using Yelp’s reviews data and past health inspection records is able to successfully predict future inspection scores for restaurants 82 percent of the time.

So the gauntlet has been thrown. Data scientists of the world - can you beat 82 percent?

Winning algorithms will be awarded financial prizes — but the real prize is the opportunity to help the City of Boston, which is committed to examining ways to integrate the winning algorithm into its day-to-day inspection operations.

Read about how Yelp engineers have tried to crack this case on the Yelp Engineering Blog, and check out the contest page for all the rules and juicy details. Submissions close on July 7, 2015. 

June 01, 2015

Consumer Alerts: We Don’t Tolerate Review Manipulation

Yelp launched its Consumer Alerts program nearly three years ago to catch people who might be trying to manipulate ratings and reviews. Today, we’re activating a new round of 51 alerts.

Yelp has a team of investigators who scour the site, infiltrate message boards and classified ads, and research tips from our community of users in search of suspicious activity, like offers to pay for good reviews. We place clear warnings for consumers on business pages where we find questionable activity. The warnings stay up for 90 days with a link to the evidence found so consumers can make their own decisions.

Since the program’s beginning, our sleuths have uncloaked hundreds of instances where people were engaged in shady reviewing practices - everything from tattoo removal services and moving companies, to car dealerships and doctors.

Meeeep

Consumers have the right to know when someone is attempting to mislead them. For example, before heading in for LASIK eye surgery you would probably want to know that a very large number of five-star reviews for King LASIK came from the same IP address used to claim the business owner’s account. Likewise, you’d probably like a heads up that Luminere Esthetics & Wellness was caught offering $400 in exchange for removing a negative review of the business before stopping by for a waxing appointment (yikes). 

On top of giving consumers a false perception of the place where they are about to spend their money and violating Yelp’s Terms of Service, writing a testimonial without revealing you've been compensated is also false advertising.

If you see any suspicious behavior on Yelp, please report it and help us do our best to protect consumers, honest businesses, and Yelp.

May 27, 2015

Boutique Shopping Goes Digital with Shoptiques.com on Yelp Platform

Memorial Day Weekend was great for getting outside, exploring parks and beaches, seeing friends and family, and blowing your dough on countless sales and promotions. Shopped a ton but didn’t find what you wanted? Or found what you wanted but then realized seven of your friends also found the same cozy blue cardigan? Good news, Yelp has something for you. As of today, shop cool local boutiques directly on Yelp through our new Yelp Platform partnership with Shoptiques.com!

This is not just a way to avoid the crush of humans crowding your local mall (although that’s a definite benefit), our new partnership makes it so easy to support cool local businesses (like Olive & Bette’s in NYC or y&i Clothing Boutique in San Francisco) and find something uniquely you. Read reviews and highlights from the Yelp community for each boutique, browse their inventory in a sleek shopping interface, add to your cart, purchase, and get it delivered to your door, all on Yelp.

For those who prefer an in-person experience, this new feature is a great way to scope the merch before deciding which shops to visit. Also, If you're at all worried that your item might be snagged by someone else before you can get to the store, just order it online and select pickup in store so that the item is waiting for you when you arrive.

Shoptiques Yelp Platform y&i boutique

Shoptiques.com is Yelp’s first partner in the shopping vertical, Yelp’s largest category of reviewed businesses at 23 percent. The high-quality, unique local boutiques they partner with are the best local finds and hidden gems across the country.

We’re rolling out this partnership over the course of the coming months, with more than 200 businesses live today, and thousands of boutiques available by the end of the year for your shopping pleasure. We’re excited to deliver more value, convenience, a top-notch ecommerce experience, and maybe some sassy summer sandals to Yelp users!

Yelp Platform connects people with great local businesses from discovery into actual transactions in a variety of categories, including food ordering, spa treatments, winery tastings, hotels, and now boutique shopping. Consumers completed about 1.5 million transactions on Yelp Platform as of the end of the first quarter of 2015, and we’re excited to work with Shoptiques.com to continue growing that number.

For developers interested in partnering with Yelp, head to www.yelp.com/developers/platform for more information.

May 21, 2015

Yelpifying Michael Bauer’s SF Chronicle Restaurant List

San Francisco’s resident restaurant critic has again released his list of favorite 100 restaurants in the Bay Area. Michael Bauer’s tastebuds have surely developed an acute sense for fine fare over the course of his lengthy career, and we wanted to see how his picks stacked up on Yelp.

Thanks to our community of millions of locals, we’ve got insights on everything from ambiance to popular dishes. Let’s take a look at SF Chronicle’s restaurant list in Yelp terms:

  • All of the Chronicle’s top restaurants have 3.5 to 4.5 star ratings on Yelp: 21.9% are 3.5 stars, 61.9% are 4 stars, and 16.2% are 4.5 stars
  • 72% are $$$ ($31-60) or $$$$ (Above $61) on Yelp
  • Of the 56 restaurants for which we have health scores from the SF Health Department, only 5 had health scores below 90 (90 and above is “good”)
  • The most common words (other than “the”, “I”, etc.) used in reviews of these restaurants on Yelp include “service,” “wine,” “delicious,” “experience,” “dessert,” and “course”

SFChron Restaurant Words

While Yelpers may not write reviews for a living, their analyses can be similarly quotable and astute. In fact, we thought it might be fun to challenge folks to tell the difference between a Yelp review and a Michael Bauer review! Tomorrow we’ll start quizzing people on our social media channels over the course of the next week. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to join in.

For now, check out Yelp’s take on Michael Bauer’s Top 100 Restaurants, and take note of the review highlights on Yelp. The chocolate budino tart at A16 and thousand year old quail egg at Benu are just a few of Yelpers’ favorites.

A16 - 3.5 stars, 1612 reviews, $$$, 92/100 health score

Acquerello - 4.5 stars, 767 reviews, $$$$, 100/100 health score

Ad Hoc - 4 stars, 2045 reviews, $$$

Akiko’s Restaurant - 4 stars, 1144 reviews, $$, 90/100

Al’s Place - 3.5 stars, 50 reviews, $$$

AQ Restaurant & Bar - 3.5 stars, 557 reviews, $$$, 90/100 health score

Atelier Crenn - 4.5 stars, 431 reviews, $$$$, 94/100 health score

Bar Agricole - 3.5 stars, 850 reviews, $$$, 92/100 health score

Benu - 4.5 stars - 636 reviews, $$$$, 100/100 health score

Continue reading "Yelpifying Michael Bauer’s SF Chronicle Restaurant List" »

Yelp’s On Lock! The New HTC One Lock Screen, That Is

Yelp is like your personal magic genie. Is your wish to find the closest margarita because it’s 4:48pm on Friday? Granted. Seeking the breakfast burrito that will keep you full all the way through dinner? Your wish is our command. One wish left… what shall it be? How about for Yelp to know what you want before you even ask? Well, we granted that wish, too, with Yelp’s Nearby function, making recommendations for a great local business based on everything from the time of day to the weather outside.

And now, HTC customers get more mind-reading wisdom juice sent straight to the lock screen on their new HTC One M9 device.

HTC Yelp lock screen

We’re pretty excited to announce this new partnership with HTC, and hopefully make their customers’ days a little brighter with perfectly tailored recommendations powered by Yelp’s Search API. These suggestions pop up at breakfast, lunch, and dinnertime for users that opt in to these updates.

But wait, there’s more! HTC’s new BlinkFeed application, preloaded on all new HTC phones and available for download in the Google Play store for all Android devices, features fresh Yelp content and business recommendations along with all the most important updates in your feed.

“We’re thrilled to be integrating Yelp content into the user experience of HTC’s new flagship phone, giving M9 customers the ability to explore all of the great local businesses around them,” shares Drew Bamford, Corporate Vice President of HTC Creative Labs.

Yelp recommendations will be delivered to customers in 22 countries, including the US, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Japan. HTC One M8 owners needn’t worry, as they will also get this functionality when they update to the HTC Sense 7 user interface on their device.

Yelp’s Search API is used by more than 100,000 developers around the world to deliver on-point local business information to their users. We’re thrilled to add HTC to the list of world-class partners working with Yelp. For developers looking to get in on the action, head to yelp.com/developers to learn how you can put that Yelp goodness into your products.