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January 29, 2010

"Good Morning America" Touts Yelp for Business Owners

I've been a huge George Stephanopoulos fan ever since reading All Too Human in high school. So you can imagine how excited I was to see Yelp's business owner tools getting a plug on Good Morning America yesterday.

If you didn't catch it, you can view it here:

Tory Johnson mentions a statistic that we tout often: next to recommendations from friends, consumers rely heavily on online reviews to guide their spending decisions. She goes on to explain that business owners can register themselves for free on yelp.com/business. There are a ton of great benefits to unlocking your free business tools on Yelp, such as: posting special offers, building out a rich profile, responding to reviews (privately or publicly), and uploading photos.

One piece of advice we offer to the business community differs slightly from Johnson's, however: we actually discourage direct solicitation of reviews. Obviously solicited reviews can turn off prospective customers who tend to regard such reviews as spammy. (Not to mention, solicited reviews are more likely to be suppressed from business pages by our automated review filter).

That said, we think there's a big difference between saying "Check me out on Yelp!" (good) and "Hey, write a 5-star review about me on Yelp!" (not good).

Here are 3 ways to draw attention to your Yelp presence without being overly solicitous:

  1. Sign off on your business emails with a link to your Yelp page and the message "Check us out on Yelp!"
  2. Co-brand your online and print presence with Yelp badges. Our Flickr page is a great resource for these.
  3. Offer WiFi at your business? Configure your WiFi Router to make your Yelp listing the start page for your customers. (Hat tip to Michael Jenson for this creative idea.)

As for Johnson's point on using Yelp as a job search engine, we think it's a cool idea. In fact, we've heard of businesses using their Offers & Announcements tool to let the world know they're hiring.