October 13, 2015

100 Local Business Leaders Will Converge at Yelp HQ for Historic Event

Since 2004, Yelp has been connecting people to great local businesses. Along the way we’ve met successful entrepreneurs who have taught us important lessons about what makes great businesses tick. Their valuable insights have led to new features and updates which have made the experience on Yelp better for business owners coast-to-coast.

This got us thinking: “How can we meet more of these individuals and what would it be like to connect them with their peers?”

This November 4–5, Yelp is bringing together the people behind 100 top-rated businesses across North America for a historic event taking place at Yelp’s San Francisco headquarters called Coast-To-Coast: Coming Together Because We Mean Business.

Yelp Community Managers in the US and Canada nominated local entrepreneurs who have claimed their Yelp Business Page and are expert examples of how to use Yelp’s free tools to grow their businesses. This choice group of business owners doesn’t get hung up by 1 and 2 star reviews; they use feedback to make necessary changes. Social is very much a part of their marketing strategy, and that includes taking an active role in managing their reputation on Yelp and in the community.  

Not only will we celebrate the achievements of this exclusive group, but leaders at Yelp will share expertise and arm these champions of local business with best practices we hope will help them continue to grow. We’ll provide a platform for them to network and dialogue with their peers, and our internal teams will gain valuable insight as to how to improve our business owner offerings in small focus groups.

Coast-to-Coast attendees represent 86 North American markets, a wide range of categories and different levels of experience and years in business, but the one thing they all have in common is their steadfast desire to build a robust business in their local market. We are proud to honor the following people at the first ever Coast-To-Coast: Coming Together Because We Mean Business!


Albuquerque, NM

Joe’s Pasta House, KC Guzzardi


Atlanta, GA

Neighborhood Eats, Andrew McDonough


Atlanta OTP

Meehan’s Public House, Alyssa Breen


Austin, TX

Fork & Vine, Brendan Puthoff

Medusa Skates, Julie Hunter


Continue reading "100 Local Business Leaders Will Converge at Yelp HQ for Historic Event" »

September 30, 2015

Yelp Makes Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces for Women

We are excited to share that Yelp is one of Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces for Women in its inaugural 2015 list. We’ve worked hard to make Yelp a diverse and inclusive place for everyone, and I’m proud to say that women make up 49 percent of our total workforce and 45 percent of people managers as of our latest EEO-1 release. We also just announced our first female chairperson of the Yelp board, Diane Irvine.

While numbers do tell a story, diversity is much bigger than that. The women at Yelp work in all kinds of roles and departments to keep our company going and bring so much more to the table than a female perspective. To say thank you to these amazing women and to celebrate their accomplishments, we put together a short video to introduce you to the women of Yelp.

Creating a diverse workplace is a complex and ongoing challenge. While we still have room to grow, I’m proud of the progress we’ve made so far and am committed to doing more. Two areas we are focused on include increasing the number of women on our Engineering team to reflect a percentage that is equal to the amount of women who receive computer science degrees in college, and having each of our local sales offices match the demographics of the cities in which they’re based.

Do you think you’d be the perfect fit for a role at Yelp? Check out our open positions at yelp.com/careers and apply today!

September 24, 2015

How to Land a Job at Yelp: 5 Tips for Interviewing

With more than 3,200 employees in eight offices, Yelp has grown a lot over the last 11 years. We owe a lot of that success to the careful curation of our workforce. We take hiring very seriously here and only extend offers to people who truly embody the Yelp culture, e.g., people who are  super smart, motivated, able to bring different backgrounds and new perspectives to the table, and always up for a good laugh.

For an inside look at what it’s like to interview for a job at Yelp, tune in to ABC Family today at 3pm ET/PT to see Yelp featured on Job or No Job, a new show that follows young adults interviewing for their first jobs.

Job or No Job Interview Photo

John and Nabeela interview candidate Jenni on ABC Family’s Job or No Job

While the interview process at Yelp differs depending on what role a candidate is interviewing for, there are a few things we always look for. In today’s episode of Job Or No Job you’ll meet John and Nabeela from our sales organization and recruiting team. These two have years of experience under their belts as hiring managers, so we picked their brains for things they look for during the interview process. Here are a few things you can do to nail an interview at Yelp, straight from the horse’s mouth.

5 Tips for Landing a Job at Yelp

1. Be genuine and authentic about your past.

Tie your past experiences into a story that shows what you’ve learned from past jobs and reveals your personality and interests. One of Yelp’s company values is “Be Authentic,” and we look for that quality in everyone we hire.

2. Show enthusiasm for the product and know how it works.

If you’re interviewing at Yelp, you should have used our app enough to be familiar with how it works. Most of all, understand how our product delivers on Yelp’s mission to connect people with great local businesses.

3. Know why you are pursuing a career in this industry.

John looks for people who are excited to work in sales and have ambition to grow their careers in that area. He says it’s not enough to love Yelp; candidates have to be able to explain what is motivating them to pursue a specific position.

4. Ask for feedback during the interview process.

For many teams, including sales and engineering, the interview process has several stages. It’s important to have a two-way conversation throughout. Take advantage when the hiring manager asks “Do you have any questions for me?” to ask an insightful question that shows you’ve been paying attention and really want feedback. Don’t waste the opportunity on an irrelevant question you memorized from a job hunt advice column, says Nabeela.

5. Research the company first.

Skim the headlines to see what topics are being covered in the media, read profiles of employees with similar titles, and think about how your personality fits well with the role you’re pursuing. At Yelp, we think a lot about talents versus skills. Talents are innate abilities, while skills are something that can be taught. John says the best candidates show how their talents will enable them to be successful at Yelp.

Interested in working at Yelp? Check out yelp.com/careers for open positions in sales, engineering, marketing, and more.

September 08, 2015

Watch Out: Yelp for Gear Launches on the Samsung Gear S2

Everyone knows Yelp is your BFF while on the go and in search of great local businesses. That’s why millions of users turn to Yelp’s apps each month and why Yelp data makes so much sense packaged into wearable formats you can take with you, like Samsung’s new Gear S2 smartwatch, which just launched with the Yelp for Gear app.

Samsung gear collage

The Gear S2’s unique rotating bezel, along with the Home and Back buttons, ensures users can quickly access notifications and applications. Search, call and get directions for nearby local businesses to eat, shop, drink, relax, and play. A quick turn of the bezel shows results in nine different categories, from restaurants to health and fitness.

Yelp content powers local experiences in many of your favorite apps, products, and sites through our API, and we’re excited to share the Yelp goodness with Samsung Gear S2 customers. Yelp for Gear will be available in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and Hong Kong. For developers interested in using Yelp’s API, check out yelp.com/developers.

September 03, 2015

Consumer Protection Initiative Uncovers Shady Group of Movers

Earlier this week we announced new Consumer Alerts, part of our Consumer Protection Initiative, to protect people from attempts to mislead them on Yelp. Although most businesses earn their reputations fairly, some are becoming sophisticated in their attempts to manipulate their online reputation. Fortunately, Yelp is just as committed to protecting the integrity of our content and we are constantly learning and improving our mechanisms to detect suspicious behavior.

Today we are protecting consumers (and businesses who play by the rules) by taking additional measures to shut down attempts at review manipulation. Yelp has issued a new Reputation Warning on more than 100 listings for moving companies across the U.S. who are connected to the Movers Alliance, a group that operates many mover and relocation businesses under several names and listings on Yelp, other consumer sites, and government databases. We have evidence that this group and the businesses connected to it pressure customers into writing positive reviews (sometimes on the spot) in exchange for a discount, manipulate customers into posting reviews to listings other than the one they transacted with (sometimes in an entirely different state), ask customers to sign a contract preventing them from publishing negative reviews in case of a dispute, and purchase fake reviews online. Here is a small selection from our evidence file:

Mover Alert Evidence

Click here to see a business with the alert and full evidence file.

Due to these extensive and widespread efforts to mislead consumers, some of whom may spend thousands of dollars moving, we cannot recommend any of the reviews for these businesses. Listings with this Reputation Warning will not have any reviews or star ratings and will display instead a warning with a link to Yelp’s evidence about this group.

Yelp employs advanced recommendation software and spends countless hours investigating deceptive behavior to protect the trust of the millions of people who use our services every month, but we couldn’t do it without the help of our community of users. If you see a review or message that doesn’t feel right, you can use this link to flag it for our team to evaluate. Messages shared by several Yelp users already helped us crack the Movers Alliance case.

Yelp's Consumer Protection Initiative, which began with our Consumer Alerts program in 2012, will continue to evolve as we double down on our effort to have consumers’ backs. It has since extended to include providing public health scores of restaurants, government ranking data on medical service providers, taking a stand against misleading “reputation management” companies, and our ongoing efforts to protect consumers from lawsuits by businesses. Is there an issue you think Yelp should pursue? Please let us know here.

September 01, 2015

Consumer Alerts: Continuing to Protect your Peace of Mind

Consumer trust has always been Yelp’s number one priority. From our LIVES open data standard integrating restaurant health scores onto business pages, to our more recent ProPublica partnership incorporating health care statistics onto the Yelp business pages of medical treatment facilities, our goal is to provide people with as much information as possible before they make a spending decision.

As part of our ongoing Consumer Protection Initiative to empower consumers, Yelp launched its Consumer Alert program in 2012 to track down people who might be trying to manipulate ratings and reviews. This week, we’re releasing a new round of 51 alerts, because consumers deserve to know when someone is attempting to deceive them. The consumer alerts will be clearly posted on affected Yelp listings for 90 days.

Since the start of the program, our trusty team of investigators have caught hundreds of attempts to artificially inflate ratings through a number of tactics. In 2015 alone, our sleuths have issued 185 consumer alerts. Cheaters beware: our team WILL find you. 


Wouldn’t you want to know that Spokane Laptops was caught threatening customers and offering to pay $50 in exchange for the removal of negative reviews before taking your broken laptop into that shop? Likewise, you’d probably appreciate a heads up that this MedRite Urgent Care was caught twice attempting to inflate their ratings before rushing in with a medical emergency. Similarly, you’d want the tip-off that a large number of five-star reviews for Family Dental Care came from the same IP address used to claim the business owner’s account before heading in to get a tooth pulled.


In addition to giving consumers a false perception of the business where they are about to spend their hard-earned money and violating Yelp’s Terms of Service, buying positive testimonials without revealing they were paid for is a form of  false advertising.

Our Consumer Protection Initiative is continuing to grow and more announcements are on the way. In the meantime, if you’ve spotted some suspicious behavior, please let our investigators know. Together, we can continue to protect consumers and promote the honest local business owners who make our communities so awesome.

August 27, 2015

Digesting Yelp Photos Just Got Easier: Now Browse by Category

One of the best parts about working at Yelp is knowing that every day we get to contribute to people having great experiences at amazing local businesses. Whether it’s the perfect sandwich for your lunch or the right plumber when you’re in a jam, getting you the information you need is our highest priority.

Sometimes that information comes from the high quality reviews our enthusiastic Yelp community provides, but other times the best answer lies in a photo. As the old adage goes, a photo is worth a thousand words. ;-)

Today I’m happy to announce a new way to help users find just the right information they need within the vast collection of photos our users have submitted. Photos for restaurants are now classified by category, including food, interior, outside, drink, and menu. Each photo a Yelp community member takes provides meaningful information to other people, but sometimes the exact photo you need gets buried under several screenfulls of other photos (I’m looking at you Food).

Yelp has been experimenting with using neural networks to understand the content in user photos (keep an eye on the Yelp Engineering Blog for a deeper dive into the complex world of neural networks!), so now when you need to find that interior shot to survey the ambiance of a restaurant before a birthday dinner or maybe an exterior shot to find that great tapas bar you read about in the Weekly Yelp, you can get to those photos with only one click. Now that’s service.

To check out this new feature, click on the ‘See all photos’ link on any restaurant around the world with at least 18 photos (that’s how many fit on a laptop screen without scrolling).


You’ll notice links above the grid of images to different types of photos. If you have an idea for a new photo category, tweet it to @Yelp with the hashtag #photobucket. We’re always looking for feedback!

Photo tabbed browsing

We’re starting small with this experiment - just restaurants at first - but we’ll be exploring what other categories of businesses make sense. Also, we’re very aware you may sometimes encounter photos that we’ve misclassified. If you see one, just flag the photo and pick ‘wrong category’ as your reason from the drop down.

To leave you with a moment of zen, behold some of our mis-classified photos. Everyone can have a bad day, even a computer.

Photo tabbed browsing collage
Mis-classifications, left to right: Food, Outside, Drink

August 25, 2015

Yelp Foundation Awards $1.2 Million in Grants to 14 Nonprofits

As chairperson of the Yelp Foundation, calling nonprofits to surprise them with the news that they’ve won a Yelp Foundation grant is one of my favorite moments of the entire year. This year, I was able to make 14 calls and award $1.2 million in grants to nonprofits that advance the Yelp Foundation’s mission of supporting access to information, education, local economic development, and freedom of expression in local communities.

I am proud to announce this year’s recipients of Yelp Foundation grants: 

KIPP Bay Area

Kiva Zip

Aim High

Playworks Arizona

Great Hearts

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix

Great Lakes Academy Chicago

i.c. stars

Friends of the Children New York

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Demand Progress

826 National

Room to Read

Positive Tomorrows

Yelp Foundation Grant Recipients logo collage.ppt (1)
Each year since 2013 the Foundation has enlisted the help of Yelp employees to recommend which organizations should receive a grant. Employees can nominate any 501(c)(3) that is aligned with the Foundation’s mission for consideration, and out of that group a handful of the frontrunners are identified. An employee who is passionate about each organization acts as its champion, presenting to the company and Foundation board on how the grant money will make an impact and help drive the Foundation’s overarching goals. Many of the champions have actually participated in the programs they are presenting and share personal stories about the impact it has had on their lives, leading to the jobs they now hold at Yelp. Based on those presentations, Yelp employees vote on their favorite nonprofits, and the Yelp Foundation board considers those votes when making their final decision.

A record number of Yelp employees participated in the voting process, nominating more than 100 nonprofits and championing 26 organizations before the winning 14 were chosen. Since some employees may not be able to make their own personal donations, this is our way of getting folks involved to make sure the Yelp Foundation is supporting organizations they care about. For those who are able to donate, the Foundation will again match Yelp employee donations of up to $1,000 per employee through the end of 2015 to effectively double their impact.

As of today, the Foundation has awarded a total of $2.6 million in grants and more than $400,000 in employee donations and matching.

As the impact of the Foundation continues to grow, it’s exciting to see the difference this money can make to the organizations who receive it. By the numbers, a Yelp Foundation grant can go a long way. Here’s what $100,000 could do at some of this year’s grant winning nonprofits:

  • $100,000 provides 2,500 Aim High teachers with access to workshops taught by expert educators

  • $100,000 will purchase 2,000 textbooks for students at $50 each through the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

  • $100,000 will fund 3,333 hours of fine arts programming for kids through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix

A few nonprofits shared their plans with us already. 826 National hopes to use Yelp Foundation funds to support local chapter expansion, including 826 Valencia's expansion to the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco and 826DC's new home. Kiva Zip hopes to put some of their grant award towards their Kiva City SF program, and KIPP Bay Area will use some of the funding to reach their goal of serving four times the amount of students in the next five years.

We can’t wait to see these grants get put to use! To learn more about the Yelp Foundation and see previous grant winners, go to yelpfoundation.org.

August 20, 2015

Bigger Than a Numbers Story

For the first time last year, we shared our gender and ethnic diversity data with the world. As Jeremy stated then, “Diversity is important to our product, our work environment, and our ability to cultivate a successful global company.” He announced a few actionable items that the company was working towards, one of which was hiring a Head of Diversity. Well here I am, and it’s been an inspirational, challenging and educational 10 months. Since then, we’ve been focused on continuing to build a company that is not only diverse but, more importantly, inclusive.  

I recently spoke with the International Business Times about some of the progress we’ve made, as well as our goals and values. We still have a long way to go. Full representation and inclusion of historically underrepresented groups will take some time. Yet we remain optimistic about the future of our diversity and inclusion efforts given the results we’ve seen over the past 12 months. Here are some highlights of Yelp’s progress:

  • 124% growth rate in women in Engineering globally

  • 86% growth rate in African-Americans/Blacks in the U.S.

  • 88% growth rate in Hispanics/Latinos in the U.S.

Yelp_WorkforceDiversity_20150903 (1)

We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the course of a year, and there’s no doubt that metrics are important. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get done.” However, my vision for diversity and inclusion is to be less tethered to specific numbers and to be more focused on ensuring that Yelp continues to be a “Best Place to Work” for all of our employees, no matter their age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability or economic status.

I’m inspired by the saying: “build it and they will come” (shout out to Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams!). We recognize the importance of creating an inclusionary environment to make sure both current and new employees are comfortable, happy, and bringing their authentic selves to work. Over the past year, we’ve put a lot of focus into elevating Yelp’s Employee Resource Groups. We started five groups across many of our offices, including Women At Yelp, Awesome Women in Engineering, Yelp Parents, OUTburst, and DiverseBurst. These groups are employee-driven and grassroots, with goals of enhancing employee engagement, professional development and providing business insights. We felt it was important to give our employees the power to self-organize and inform the approach the company should take when it comes to diversity. This is bigger than a numbers story - it's going to take changing our employees’ mindsets, and we’ve been educating ourselves and learning from each other along the way.

To further help create an inclusive environment, we’ve offered unconscious bias training, and are currently working with community organizations and nonprofits like Year Up, Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, Hackbright, Girls Who Code, Technovation, and more.

While it’s crucial to foster an inclusive environment, we haven’t forgotten the importance of recruiting from underrepresented communities. So our recruiters have:

  • Set realistic hiring goals for our sales organization, with the aim of representing and mirroring the diverse communities where we have offices

  • Expanded our Campus Ambassador Program and added ten new college/university target schools to our sales recruiting schedule and held more than 40 diversity recruiting events on those campuses

  • Deepened relationships with on-campus women’s STEM organizations like: Women in Computer Science and Society of Women Engineers

Our founders established company values many years ago. Three of those values really speak to our belief in the power of diversity: ‘Play Well with Others,’ ‘Be Authentic,’ and ‘Be Unboring.’ If these core values speak to you too, I think we’ll get along just fine. Come join us by visiting yelp.com/careers.

August 18, 2015

Review Federal Agencies on Yelp...and Maybe Get a Response

Yellowstone Yelp listing

Full functionality is now offered on pages of federal government services.

Yelp is excited to announce that it has concluded a negotiated terms of service agreement with the federal government that will allow federal agencies and offices to claim their Yelp pages, read and respond to reviews, and incorporate that feedback into service improvements.

Yelp encourages its users to review any of the thousands of agency field offices,national parks, Social Security Administration offices, landmarks and other places already listed on Yelp if you have good or bad feedback to share about your experiences. Not only is it helpful to others who are looking for information on these services, but you can actually make an impact by sharing your feedback directly with the source.

It’s clear Washington is eager to engage with people directly through social media. Earlier this year a group of 46 lawmakers called for the creation of a “Yelp for Government” in order to boost transparency and accountability, and Representative Ron Kind reiterated this call in a letter last month. Luckily, there’s no need to create a new platform now that government agencies can engage directly on Yelp.

In the weeks and months ahead, we’re excited to help the federal government more directly interact with and respond to the needs of citizens and to further empower the millions of Americans who use Yelp every day.

In addition to negotiating a terms of service agreement with the federal government, last week we announced our our partnership with ProPublica to incorporate health care statistics and consumer opinion survey data onto the Yelp business pages of more than 25,000 medical treatment facilities. We’ve also partnered with local governments in expanding the LIVES open data standard to show restaurant health scores on Yelp.

All of these things fall under Yelp’s Consumer Protection Initiative, a concerted effort to empower and protect consumers on our site. We’re constantly looking for new ways to improve our user experience, so if you have other ideas for this initiative or feedback on efforts Yelp currently has underway, including this new agreement with the federal government, please share it here.