April 08, 2014

Kimono’ver, Yelp has launched in Japan!

If you skipped a stone from Yelp’s SF headquarters some 5,144 miles across the Pacific Ocean, what would you find? An archipelago of islands (6,852 of them to be exact) known as the Land of the Rising Sun. Not merely a gateway to the Asian continent, Japan is a technological and cultural marvel — and the 26th nation to enter the Yelp fold.

With over 126 million people, Japan is the tenth most populated country on the planet, and economically speaking, it’s no shrinking cherry blossom. Only the US and China have a greater nominal GDP, and Japan touts an unparalleled electronics industry with companies like Nintendo, Sharp, Toshiba, and Sony headquartered there. It’s no wonder that Japan was home to the world’s oldest continuously operated business (which ran for over 1,400 years)!

But hey, the Japanese know how to let off some steam too! You’ll find them belting away in a karaoke box, noshing down at a cosplay restaurant, forest bathing, getting tipsy with crab-like monsters, or enjoying their favorite sport, baseball. This nation of animal lovers also has more pets than children, but the petless need not worry: you can always snuggle up at a cat cafe!

Yelp’s efforts will begin in Tokyo, the largest metropolis on Earth, and Osaka, the country’s economic nerve center. And starting today, all of Japan can use Yelp to find their favorite local businesses: vintage stores, craft shops, art galleries, even ‘100 yen shops’ — all from their smartphone or the web.

Log on to Yelp.co.jp or download Yelp’s mobile app to start spreading the wisdom. Businesses can get in on the action too at biz.yelp.co.jp by claiming their page for free and building out their profile.


Yelp Platform is Growing: Did Someone Say Spa Day?

Before consumers decide to spend money at a local business, they turn to Yelp -- whether it’s to help them discover the best pizza joint, a trustworthy locksmith or a quaint B&B for a weekend getaway. This is exactly why we introduced Yelp Platform last year, to give people a seamless way to transact directly with the businesses they’re already discovering on Yelp. We launched with delivery.com and Eat24 for food ordering and delivery, and today we’re excited to expand Yelp Platform with Booker for spas and salons!



Been dying to try out a Jared Leto-esque ombre or treat your better half to a pamper sesh? Now you can head to Yelp to find just the place, then schedule your appointment directly from a Booker supported spa or salon (like Yelo in New York). Not only can you book directly from your computer or Yelp’s mobile apps, you can choose to save your payment details so you won’t have to enter them again for the billionth time.

A select number of spas and salons are available for booking on Yelp Platform today and we’ll continue to roll out more in the coming weeks.

We’re continuing to add new categories and partners in order to bring consumers more ways to transact directly on Yelp. For more information on partnering with Yelp, please check out yelp.com/developers or contact bizdev@yelp.com.


March 31, 2014

Yelp Hackathon 13: Hacking and Unhacking from Hamburg to San Francisco

Hackathon has become a time-honored tradition here at Yelp, with engineers putting everyday responsibilities aside for 48 hours to work on any project that strikes their fancy. For the first time in Hackathon history we made it a global event, with engineers in Yelp’s Hamburg office joining in on the action for our recent Hackathon 13.

One SF-based mobile engineer even traveled to Germany to work with teammates based in Hamburg. The result of their project? Inventive use of hardware circuit boards and a realization that “beer is much better in Hamburg than in San Francisco.”

Hamburg Hackathon collage
Yelp engineers hacking away in our Hamburg office

Hackathon is truly a team effort, with everyone from interns to VPs working on projects to display at the big reveal. After lots of whiteboarding, secretive brainstorming, late night snacks, and one too many Red Bulls, tons of useful, funny and cool projects are unveiled, and the entire engineering team votes to declare winners in each category.

Some people stay business-minded with “unhacks” and set aside the time to do projects that have been on the backburner, like setting up an additional testing framework or running a backlog of code reviews. Others go the creative route. For Hackathon 13, one team imagined what a virtual reality experience may look like for Yelp Monocle. Prepare yourself...for the future.

Dying to get your hands dirty at a Yelp Hackathon? Check out the job openings posted at yelp.com/careers. Apply today, and you may be showing off your project at Yelp Hackathon 14.

March 18, 2014

Want More Customers? Try Yelp Ads

An average of 120 million unique visitors turn to Yelp each month to help them make a spending decision.* Since these consumers are already searching for a business with which to spend money, Yelp offers local businesses a wide range of advertising options that allow them to get in front of even more of these highly engaged Yelp users. In fact, a study done by The Boston Consulting Group last year found that Yelp advertisers generate average annual revenues of more than $23,000 from Yelp. With the average Yelp advertiser spending $4,200 annually, that’s a pretty impressive potential return on investment.

To meet the wide range of budgets and goals local business owners have, we offer an array of products that are tailored to fit everyone’s needs. While some might want the ease and convenience of subscription-based packages and the ability to talk things through with someone on the phone, others may want to manage their own budget. For that reason, we have a variety of advertising programs and products which include:

Flat-Rate Subscription Bundles:

(Guaranteed Ads + Profile Features + Account Management)

Offer targeted advertising via guaranteed impressions to increase a business' exposure when consumers on Yelp are searching for a related business. Businesses also get profile enhancements, including a photo slideshow, customized 60-second video and the Call to Action Button which helps to drive customers to the action the business values most (e.g. “schedule an appointment”). Businesses also get an account manager to help make the most of their ad program. A majority of our clients prefer this package because of its convenience and predictability.

Packaged CPC Bundles:

(Auction CPC Ads + Profile Features + Account Management)

Offer the same targeted advertising as impression ads but a business pays only when a user clicks on the ad. Yelp displays ads for a business in search results and on competitors' business pages and each time a user clicks on that business’ ad, the business pays Yelp for the click. The cost per click is based on advertiser demand in the category and the regional area. Multi-location businesses and chains that have their own experienced digital marketing departments have been using this option on Yelp for a few years. This full-service performance-based advertising package has also been available to Yelp's single-location business owners since last year and is growing quickly. Like the flat-rate bundle, this program also comes with profile enhancements and account management.

Self-Serve CPC Ads:

(Ads Only)

For businesses that wish to manage their own ad budget via our website, Yelp's self-serve CPC ad program is a great option. These are also auction and performance-based cost-per-click ads but don't come with full service account management or the profile enhancements that our full service programs offer.  

What’s more, business owners can measure the impact advertising has on their business with the free metrics Yelp provides as part of the suite of tools accessible to anyone who claims their free Business Account. See how Yelp Ads work for you by tracking pageviews and generation of customer leads, including mobile phone calls, clicks for directions, clicks to the business’ website and more. 

For many business owners, however, the real way they determine an advertising campaign’s success is by how many new customers they get from it. In many verticals, even one new customer a month can pay for a Yelp advertising campaign. But don’t just take our word for it. Check out the video below to hear about how Yelp advertising can impact your business, straight from a few small business owners. As Andrew C. of San Francisco’s Press Club puts it, “Yelp has made a dramatic impact on our client base. You can actually see - from the beginning when we opened to where we are now - a pretty direct correlation between the number of visitors we get through Yelp and our revenue.” 

So, can a business owner pay to get a better star rating? Absolutely not. We treat advertisers and non-advertisers exactly the same and you'll find plenty of Yelp advertisers with negative reviews, and plenty of non-advertisers with stellar ratings.

For more information on advertising on Yelp, click here.

*As of Q4 2013, per Google Analytics

March 12, 2014

Yelp Takes You From Artesanías to Zapaterías With Launch in Mexico

Yelp te lleva de Artesanías a Zapaterías con su lanzamiento en México

El país de origen del chocolate, el maíz y hasta el mousepad. Sí, estamos muy emocionados por dar la bienvenida al país número 25 a Yelp: ¡México! Después del reciente lanzamiento de nuevos mercados en Asia, Australia, Europa y Sudamérica, Yelp llega al primer país hispanohablante de Latinoamérica.

Con más de 113 millones de habitantes, México es el país hispanohablante más grande del mundo. Su historia se remonta al año 1500 a.C. con los Olmecas como la primera civilización que se desarrolló en la zona. Para el siglo XV, los Aztecas habían construido un imperio con impresionantes construcciones como pirámides, chinampas y acueductos. La llegada de Hernán Cortés en 1519 desató un largo y tortuoso proceso de mestizaje de las culturas indígenas y Española.

Hoy México es un mosaico multicolor donde podemos encontrar micheladas, mole y muralismo, por nombrar solo algunas de sus aportaciones culturales. Ya sea que busques el mejor taco, un buen pulque o un hermoso alebrije para decorar y presumir en casa, la gente local podrá encontrar sus lugares favoritos en Yelp.

La presencia de Yelp en este país empieza (¿dónde más?) en México, D.F. La capital es su centro cultural y financiero. Es una de las ciudades más grandes del mundo y con aproximadamente 20 millones de habitantes, es oficialmente la ciudad más grande de Yelp.

Entra a yelp.com.mx o baja la aplicación para móvil para empezar a compartir todo lo que conoces. Los negocios también pueden unirse en biz.yelp.com.mx, reclamando sus páginas de manera gratuita y creando su perfil.

Mexico blog image.jpg

Yelp Takes You From Artesanías to Zapaterías With Launch in Mexico

The birthplace of chocolate, corn, and even the humble mousepad. Yes, we’re thrilled to say 'hola' to Yelp’s 25th country: Mexico! Having recently launched key new markets in Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America, we at Yelp are excited about extending our presence in Latin America.

With over 113 million residents, Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country on the globe. Its rich history spans back to 1,500 BC when Olmecs first settled the land. By the 15th century the Aztecs had built a sprawling empire of pyramids, mile-long floating roads, and aqueducts. And the arrival of Cortés in 1519 sparked a tumultuous, centuries-long melding of indigenous and Spanish cultures.

Today, Mexico is a vibrant mosaic of micheladas, mole, and muralism, just to name a few of its cultural contributions. Whether you’re looking for a taco fix, a refreshing pulque, or a beautiful alebrije to showcase at home, locals will now be able to find their favorite businesses on Yelp.

Yelp’s efforts in Mexico will start with, where else, Mexico City. The nation’s capital is also its financial and cultural hub. Though it’s sinking at a rate of one foot a year, this city is definitely on the rise, and with 20 million people it’s officially Yelp’s largest city.

Log on to Yelp.com.mx or download Yelp’s mobile app to start spreading your wisdom. Businesses can get in on the action too at biz.yelp.com.mx by claiming their page for free and building out their profile.


Yahoo Search Now Featuring Yelp’s Trusted Content

We’re excited to announce that Yelp is partnering with a major search provider to make it even easier to find and connect with great local businesses. Guess who...it’s Yahoo!

Yelp’s rich reviews, ratings, photos and business information will help power Yahoo Search in the U.S., making finding businesses a breeze. Yelpers have written more than 53 million rich, local reviews, making Yelp the leading local guide for real word-of-mouth on everything from boutiques and mechanics to restaurants and dentists.

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Yahoo Search on desktop

With local searches making up about 25% of Yahoo’s search traffic, the demand for reliable local information is high, and we’re excited to make this experience even richer for Yahoo users. Across all categories of local business, from dog groomers and day spas to nightclubs and burger joints, trusted content from Yelp’s vibrant community of locals will help Yahoo users decide where to spend their money.

So whip out your smartphone, tablet or laptop and enjoy seeing more Yelp in your Yahoo Search.

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Yahoo Search on mobile


March 03, 2014

Yelp Elite Spotlight: Andrew M. quests to find the world’s greatest burger

We’re back with another edition of the Elite Spotlight series. This time, we’re taking a little trip across the pond to hang with a London Elite who’s always up for adventure. May we present to you, the fabulous Andrew M!

London Community Manager Alex S. describes Andrew as, “a man of the world.” Jumping from Bombay to Saudi Arabia to the U.S., Andrew finally settled in London to take on what Alex describes as his “lifelong goal”: eat every burger in the city and write about it.

From the moment Andrew stepped into his first Yelp event years ago, he was hooked on being part of the vibrant London community. Since that first event, Andrew “pounds through more reviews than Londoners drink tea, sets up his own UYEs (Unofficial Yelp Events), including the legendary Burger Quests, and is a well-loved part of the site.”

We could go on all day about this passionate local, but we’ll pass the mic to Andrew to share some of his favorite local spots and what it means to be Elite.

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Andrew M. (London)

What are the top 3 local spots you’re loving in your city right now?

1) Dinner by Heston Blumenthal - Heston B is a pioneer in molecular gastronomy and his first London restaurant combines modern techniques and ideas with historical dishes. Each of the dishes are from the early days of modern England (the oldest created in the 1300s) and he's kept the core of the dish while giving it his own unique touch. The Chef's Table there was one of the most fun meals I've had so far, with the head sous chef presenting the dishes and then bantering around with us too.

2) Champagne + Fromage - This secret gem is becoming better known by the minute. Run by a lovely French couple, they specialise in grower champagnes that they source themselves as well as a host of French cheeses and rustic foods. The tartines are excellent but what really grabs me is the dark chocolate and blue cheese fondant. I was a bit dubious at first but, damn, if those two things don't go well together.

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Photo of Champagne + Fromage via Jules H. on Yelp

3) Patty & Bun - A street food trader gone brick and mortar, the food has only gotten better and the menu more diverse than when they were slinging burgers at Street Feast. It's consistently in my top three burgers. Plus the staff are fun and friendly and prices are very reasonable given it's in the West End just off Oxford St.

Yelp is more than just a restaurant review site. What else have you discovered on Yelp?

I've used Yelp for nearly everything including evaluating moving companies, boiler repairmen, and even hospitals. There is this cool hidden garden (might actually be called Hidden Gem) up in Dalston that looks like a winner for the summer months - definitely looking forward to trying that out.

Describe your most memorable Yelp moment.

It's near impossible to pick just one moment, but I'll give it a shot. I organised a bunch of new and old Yelp friends for a pub crawl. We all got dressed up as different characters and made our way around the city. But the crawl itself wasn't the highlight - it was the group. Yelpers make a fun group to go out with, you can rely on them to help you push through and they tend to be very encouraging. Plus, with a fairly diverse group there is always someone who knows the way and which pub is best to duck into for a pint! That day is filled with excellent memories and I'd have to tip my hat to Yelp for helping make it happen.

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Andrew and fellow Yelpers cheesin’ at Oktoberfest - photo via Andrew M. on Yelp

What does it mean to you to be part of the Yelp Elite Squad?

Being Elite, and being a Yelper in general, has opened up a whole new part of my life and in some ways has taken over a bit - in a good way. I've always loved food, and Yelp put me in touch with others who were just as passionate, if not more. The Elites tend to be a crazy bunch who are usually up for trying anything and there is always someone who would share an interest, be it setting up a book club, going on burger quests to the detriment of your health, hosting a karaoke and cocktails night, and so much more. Some Elites have become very close friends and without Yelp, I doubt I'd have ever met them. Plus, who doesn't like an awesome event with free food and drink? Especially when you get to chat to the owners and get some rare insight into what drove the idea.

February 28, 2014

Yelp Consumer Alerts: We Weren’t Fooled, but Thought You Should Know

As a consumer, would you want to know if someone was trying to mislead you? We know we would. This is exactly why we introduced our Consumer Alerts program back in 2012: to warn people when we see brazen attempts to manipulate ratings and reviews - either by purchasing or incentivizing people for positive reviews or writing a bunch of reviews from the same IP address (a helpful indicator that they may lack authenticity). While our recommendation software does a great job weeding out unreliable reviews so you don't have to, our investigation team is also always on the job. Yesterday we issued a new round of Consumer Alerts warnings in connection with a handful of businesses. 

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An example of the evidence we've collected for one business.

We normally remove alerts after 90 days, but we won’t hesitate to renew them if we continue to see suspicious activity. That’s exactly what happened for two businesses this time around. We again found something amiss with two of the locations for Chicago-based nail salon, Azure Nails. And someone was caught red-handed yet again trying to buy reviews for Evergreen Carpet Cleaning in Los Angeles.

This type of activity not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Yelp’s main line of defense is our automated recommendation software which works behind the scenes at all times to recommend reliable and useful reviews. It’s unfortunate that some people are so set on gaming the system (and misleading consumers) that the additional step of posting Consumer Alerts is necessary. That said, we take our responsibility of providing trusted information very seriously, and we’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that Yelp remains helpful to consumers.  

February 26, 2014

Yelp Data Reveals Top 100 Places to Eat: Bookmark These Babies Now!

Remember those lofty goals you made this time last month to eat better? Ha, we don't either. So now that we've all thrown those resolutions out the window, let's talk about the spots Yelpers have deemed the ultimate, try-before-you-die, food-coma-inducing, so-good-it-makes-you-want-to-slap-your-momma places to eat across the globe. Add these babies to your Yelp bookmarks STAT and worry about that unused gym membership later.

From cheap eats to $$$$, food stands to Michelin stars, this list runs the gamut of dining experiences. Leave it to Yelpers to be in-the-know on the spots you’ve heard buzz about (like the fabled Le Bernardin at #45 and Chicago’s molecular gastronomy masterpiece Alinea at #7), and unearth hole-in-the-wall joints the locals would love to keep secret (a food stand serving only sweet potatoes at #54, or the hot dog cart with reindeer, elk and rattlesnake options in Denver at #12).

Best places to eat yelp collage
Clockwise from top left: dishes from Le Bernardin, Da Poke Shack, Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, and Alinea

How’d we make a list so all-encompassing? We dug in to our wealth of rich data to see what the numbers told us about which places Yelpers really love. Engineers on Yelp’s data mining team used a technique based on the Wilson Score to compile a list of highly rated places to eat. This method takes into account both star rating and number of reviews to reveal which spots not only have top notch ratings, but also which are most popular in the Yelp community.

Without further ado, we present 100 must-try spots in the US to get your #nomnom on. And don’t think we forgot about the other 23 countries where Yelp has a presence. Community Managers abroad shared a few hand-picked suggestions of places their locals love for both the cheap and spendy price points to make this munch-fest a global experience. Don’t say we didn’t warn you if your stomach starts to growl.


Continue reading "Yelp Data Reveals Top 100 Places to Eat: Bookmark These Babies Now!" »

February 25, 2014

An Open Letter to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer


Dear Governor Brewer:

I write to express my concern about SB 1062 and to respectfully request that you veto this legislation.

At the heart of Yelp’s mission is giving consumers the ability to find great local businesses.

Protecting the consumer has been - and will continue to be - our main priority. I believe that every consumer has a right to be served by a business without fear of discrimination. The language of this proposed law would set a dangerous precedent that would allow businesses in Arizona to discriminate against consumers. This is not only wrong, but taints the otherwise stellar reputation of Arizona as a state that excels in attracting new businesses.

SB 1062 would serve to create an environment where consumers would not know how they would be treated - or whether they would even be served - when they patronize a business. This bill goes against the rule that every great business subscribes to, which is that the customer is always right. It will not only be bad for customers, but also bad for local business in the state. I also believe that it would be in consumers’ interests to be made aware of businesses within the state that did engage in discriminatory behavior. Since early 2010, Yelp has hired over 650 employees in Arizona. Over the next few years, we hope to hire hundreds more. It would be unconscionable for the state to encourage discrimination against any of them.

When Yelp originally decided to open an office in Arizona it did so because we believed that the state provided a welcoming business environment. I hope that you will continue to nurture such an environment in the state by vetoing SB 1062.



Jeremy Stoppelman

CEO, Yelp

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