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April 2012

April 20, 2012

On Denmark, Get Set, Go!

Klar, parat, start – Go Danmark!

Velkommen, Yelp Danmark er nu på banen!

’Danskerne er generelt veluddannede og velinformerede og samtidig utrolig uformelle. Det giver danskerne et afslappet og humoristisk forhold til autoriteter og livet selv – det er ikke noget, vi siger, men derimod danskerne selv på Danmarks officielle hjemmeside. De ved, hvad de snakker om, når de her beskriver dem selv objektivt, ærligt og lettere poetisk – tre karaktertræk, som også klart kendetegner Yelpere!  

Danmark kan bryste sig af at være hjemsted for verdens bedste restaurant, H.C. Andersen og den Lille Havfrue og ikke mindst verdens ypperste cykelstier. Derfor glæder vi os utroligt meget til at se, hvordan danskernes gode smag og sans for kvalitet vil afspejle sig i det danske Yelp community.

Den blomstrende café-kultur og den genopblussede interesse for at spise godt dansk smørrebrød vil uden tvivl holde de danske Yelpere travlt beskæftiget fra morgenmaden bliver serveret, til frokosten er sat på bordet, og til langt efter aftensmaden er nydt. Vi må dog ikke glemme alle de mange spændende seværdigheder i København, såsom Tivoli, den næstældste forlystelsespark i Europa og den suverænt mest besøgte turistattraktion i Danmark. Når vi sammenholder disse faktorer, er vi slet ikke i tvivl om, at både  lokale og turister dagligt vil have glæde af Yelp Danmark.

Vi vil i første omgang fokusere på at bygge et dansk Yelp community i København, men det skal ikke stoppe Yelpere i at vurdere og anmelde de bedste og værste virksomheder i hele landet. Vi håber derfor, at de danske Yelpere vil være motiverede til at skrive om, hvad deres nabolag har at tilbyde turister og andre lokale – selv når det blot drejer sig om, hvor man kan få sig en lille skarp.

Fra og med i dag kan danskere logge ind på Yelp.dk for at oprette en kontoprofil. Yelps gratis mobilapplikationer vil også være til rådighed. Desuden vil virksomhedsejere nu have mulighed for at styre deres egen side og videreudvikle deres virksomhedsprofil på biz.yelp.dk.


Yelp Denmark

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April 10, 2012

Yelpy Insights

With millions of contributed reviews, Yelp is the ultimate resource when it comes to recommending great local businesses, no matter what you are looking for. While all this rich content is helpful when you want a variety of options (like when picking the location for that special occasion), sometimes it’s nice to have an easy way to quickly find businesses that match a specific interest.

Enter: Yelpy Insights.

Beginning this week, we’ll start testing out two new filters designed to narrow our search results to match your interests or even age.

The first such filter is specifically designed for veggie lovers. Vegetarians have often told us that they want to find places that serve tasty veggie treats but that can be found outside the “Vegetarian” or “Vegan” categories on Yelp. For example, a burger joint may have great vegetarian options, but no one would classify it as a “vegetarian” restaurant.

While it seems that searching for the word “vegetarian” would be the simple solution, consider all the irrelevant results that you may find: "I'm a vegetarian and this place is awful" or "I'm so glad I'm not vegetarian, the bacon-wrapped filet mignon was great".

To solve this problem, our search engineers have developed a way to analyze the reviews on our site and return valuable Yelpy Insights about which places seem to be the most popular amongst the leafy greens crowd.

How did they do this? Essentially through machine learning. (No, not like the Terminator.) Basically, our Yelp engineers wrote a program that scans the millions of reviews on Yelp and looks for key words and clues about what businesses vegetarians might like and then figure out ways to best surface that information.
Yelpy Insights
We soon discovered the same could be said for other interests and even age groups! For example, some businesses might cater to an older crowd and some a younger one. Yelp users who tell us what year they were born when creating a Yelp profile give us a big hand in determining the right answers so we can show you the best businesses that fit your needs -- as well as interests and age.

Don’t worry, we wouldn’t dare share anyone’s private information. What we can do is learn from signals in the reviews and user profiles how different groups like various businesses in aggregate and use that information to improve your search experience on Yelp.

While we begin with ‘Liked by Vegetarians’ and “X-Somethings”, if all goes well, we’ll look to roll out more Yelpy Insights in the future. Want to find out more about the mechanics behind Yelpy Insights? Visit our Engineering & Product Blog for a deep dive on how we find this information!

April 09, 2012

Survey: 85% of Consumers Use the Internet to Find Local Businesses

Search Engine Land’s recent Local Consumer Review Survey looked at the way consumer behavior has changed since 2010. Interestingly, one of the key findings was that most people surveyed were just as likely to turn to the internet, as they were to ask for personal recommendations about local businesses. For business owners, this is a good indication that now more than ever, it’s important to have a strong online presence. We’ve highlighted a few key takeaways from the survey below:

  • “There has been a significant jump in the number of consumers using the Internet to find local businesses, and the regularity of their ‘searches’ has also increased.” In fact, only 15% of consumers surveyed have not used the internet to find a local business in the past 12 months. This number is down from 21% in 2010.
  • The majority of consumers surveyed use online reviews to make spending decisions. 27% of consumers are regularly reading online reviews, while another 49% are occasional readers.
  • A single review isn’t likely to make or break you. In fact, 65% of consumers (vs. 58% in 2010) are reading between 2-10 reviews when researching local businesses.
  • “Appreciation and value of online reviews is growing as more consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” According to the survey, 72% of consumers give the same weight to online reviews as they do to personal recommendations.

With that in mind, are you putting your best foot forward when it comes to Yelp? The keys to a strong Yelp presence include adding great content to the “About This Business” section of your listing, and diplomatically responding to your reviewers. If you need inspiration, Pretty Parlor of Seattle, High Tech Auto Service of Santa Monica, and Tecolote Cafe of Santa Fe, are all examples of businesses that are actively taking the aforementioned steps. Beyond that, a solid rating on Yelp begins with providing great customer service in the offline world, and then allowing reviews to build organically over time. For more tips and best practices, check out the support center at http://biz.yelp.com.