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July 2012

July 30, 2012

Your Next Yelp Small Business Advisory Council

Millions of local businesses around the world are impacted by Yelp. With that in mind, we formed our inaugural Yelp Small Business Advisory Council (YSBAC) back in 2010 to provide us with input and guidance regarding the concerns of small business owners. Fast forward two years, and suggestions from our advisory council have directly resulted in new features and services on our site.

Now, the YSBAC is extending its reach further than ever before! We are happy to announce that our council will now consist of twelve new members and seven YSBAC veterans representing a variety of businesses across the US, Canada, and the UK:

Screen Shot 2012-07-30 at 12.22.37 PM

*Returning council member.

In case you’re wondering what YSBAC members actually do, activities for this year’s group will include:

  • A summit for new members at Yelp HQ in San Francisco, CA to learn about the different departments within Yelp and provide direct feedback to Yelp execs.
  • Participation in regular conference calls to provide input on existing features and policies, products under development, and to brainstorm new ideas.
  • Serving as a resource for other members of the business community who have questions about the services and tools on Yelp.
  • Participation in local Yelp Town Hall events to network with other business owners.

We strive to work closely with the small business community, and the YSBAC is one of several ways that we do this. We also offer free educational webinars, workshops with our Business Outreach team, and advice for navigating the world of online reviews via our Blog for Business Owners. We look forward to continuing our efforts and developing new ways to help great local businesses connect with consumers.

July 26, 2012

Yelp Mobile Updates: Lookin’ Good

We’ve all been there: you’re standing on a street corner late at night and you just need a burrito. NOW. When searching for that perfect super carnitas snack, time is of the essence. And so, my burrito-loving friends, the design, speed and utility of our mobile experiences is something we pay very close attention to.  We’re constantly evaluating ways to optimize each pixel of space, especially given the limited screen real estate that we’re working with.

As a point of reference, roughly 40% of all Yelp searches come from our mobile apps. Our team spent a lot of time evaluating what type of information and features are the most popular among our mobile users and has been working hard to improve the user experience.

Up first, our iPhone update: The old design of our business pages has served us well, but it was time for a remodel. We tore it down to the studs and built it back up with an eye on aesthetics and efficiency. We think you’ll find browsing business details, photos, review highlights, reviews and tips far more enjoyable.

And definitely check out the snazzy “pull to view” feature we cooked up. Pull the page down and release to jump right into the the gallery of photos for the business. Like so:

IPhoneblogDS

 

Next up, our mobile website (m.yelp.com): The new release, which begins rolling out today, enables users to log into their Yelp account (or sign up for one), view and create bookmarks, and add tips. While basic in functionality, these features and improved user interface are instrumental in deepening mobile engagement with our users. Lots more to come!

  MobileBlog

 

Lastly, our new iPad app update allows users to vote on and compliment reviews, upload photos, and edit business information.

IPadBlog
We'd love to hear what you think of our new updates. Drop us a line at feedback@yelp.com.

 

July 23, 2012

Day in the Life of an International Yelp CM

The next to star in this blog series is Jenny L, Community Manager in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Jennyprofile

What did you do before becoming a CM at Yelp?                 
I read a lot of books, went to student productions of Arthur Miller plays and had aspirations of becoming a penniless author before landing myself a marketing role. Suited and booted I managed the brand and all advertising for a local Scottish company that helped students start up businesses. I also read a lot of books in that role, and ate cake.

How did you find out about Yelp?                 
A good friend of mine, from New York, who I had met at University told me to check out this "awesome new website" where I could write about eating cake. Turns out he was right! I was yelping for 6 months as a die-hard Yelper before I found out about the possibility of becoming a CM.                 

How do you describe your job to people?                 
I manage the Edinburgh community of Yelp – the review website where anyone can write reviews of any of their favourite places in the city, from bars and restaurants to bike repair shops and parks.

This basically means I get to host awesome parties at brilliant local Edinburgh restaurants, cafés, bars and shops, eat out and drink out as part and parcel of the job, research and write about all the food, drink and culture trends in the city, get involved with all the awesome events Edinburgh has to offer from crafting to live music to pop-up burger shops, and spread the good word of Yelp amongst locals.

What's your "office" like?                  
It usually involves cake, and big windows with lots of natural light and gorgeous views over the city. I work half the time from home, and the other half in local cafés and bars with wifi. I love being out and about in the city, and amongst people, and taking my laptop everywhere with me means I never miss what's going on.

What do you think makes your Yelp community different than others? Do you have a mascot?
Edinburgh is a capital city, but it's also quite small and feels more like lots of small villages all stuck together. The city inherently has a great community of friendly locals and great business owners, and it feels like Yelp was made for the city! The business owners all support one another, they're really active online and interact with customers via any online social outlet. And the locals are all real foodies with a great appreciation for fantastic food, and support a lot of 'eat local' movements. It feels like every Edinburgh local was a natural-born Yelper.

What's been your favorite event that you've thrown?                 
Yelp's Prohibition Spring Fling at The Old Waverley Hotel Ballroom, in March 2012. I'd been trying for months to throw a themed Elite Event, encouraging Yelpers to dress up, but to little avail. But for this event, everyone got dolled up to the nines! It was like something out of a Hollywood movie, or Boardwalk Empire. Classy gin cocktails, a Charleston dance class, in a period ballroom overlooking a night sky and Edinburgh castle, with the men in their suits and suave gelled hair, the ladies in their ball gowns. I couldn't have asked for anything more, it was just magical! http://communityblog.yelp.com/2012/03/yelp-edinburghs-prohibition-spring-fling-the-old-waverley-hotel.html                 
 
Describe your co-workers...                 
The friendliest, craziest, most beautiful group of people I have ever had the good fortune to meet.

What's your favorite thing about working for a company like Yelp?
The freedom and encouragement to be creative, to be yourself and make the job and the community your own. Every city is different, every CM is different, but the common theme is that all Yelpers are AWESOME. Oh, and I have a legitimate excuse to eat cake every day.

July 12, 2012

Day in the Life of an International Yelp CM

2009 ging Yelp das erste Mal in einem Land außerhalb der USA an den Start: Kanada. Seither geht es immer weiter voraus, mittlerweile gibt es uns in 18 Ländern weltweit. Aber eine Frage wird uns immer wieder gestellt, und zwar ob Yelp in allen Ländern außerhalb der USA gleich ist.

Nun ja, wir dachten uns, wir gehen mal direkt an die Quelle und fragen unsere Community Manager überall auf der Welt, wie Yelp in ihren Städten ist. Wir starten mit Svenja G, unserer Berliner Community Managerin, die davon erzählt, wie sie (oder vielmehr ihre Schwester) Yelp in Deutschland entdeckte.

Das folgende Interview ist das erste in einer Reihe von Artikeln über unsere Europäischen Community Manager.

Svenja


Wie hast du von Yelp erfahren?
Yelp war noch recht unbekannt in Deutschland und es war tatsächlich meine Schwester, die die ausgeschriebene Stelle fand. Sie sagte: “Warum bewirbst du dich nicht auf den Job. Der klingt immerhin so, als sei er wie für dich gemacht!” Und Tatsache, sie hatte Recht! Ich wusste sofort, dass ich die Berliner Community Managerin sein wollte. Jetzt wo ich es erwähne, ich sollte meiner Schwester ein paar Blumen für die Entdeckung schicken!

Wie beschreibst du anderen deinen Job?
Ich entdecke die Stadt, schreibe den Weekly, gehe VIEL essen und trinken, jeden Tag treffe ich spannende Leute, schmeiße Events für meine geliebten Yelper und erzähle allen von Yelp.

Was ist dein liebster Yelp Moment?
Das schönste Ereignis bisher passierte dank eines schlichten Zufalls. Während meiner Kampagnenwoche “Yelps Pass für den Reuterkiez” starteten wir die Bar-Tour in einer französisch-amerikanischen Bar.  Ich war als erste da und erwartete offen gestanden acht bis zehn Leute. Nach und nach tauchten immer mehr Leute auf bis die Bar voll war und die Live-Band fing an französischen Chansonpop zu spielen. Die Gäste, die Band, die Barbesitzer, alle hatten irre viel Spaß. Als wir in Begriff waren weiterzuziehen, kam die Besitzerin zu mir und bedankte sich dafür, dass dank Yelp so viele tolle Gäste da waren, die den Abend auch für die Band atemberaubend schön gestalteten. Der Abend war deswegen so speziell, da ich das Yelp Motto  - Berliner mit tollen lokalen Geschäften zusammenzubringen - live miterleben konnte!

Wie sieht dein Büro aus?
Büro?! Pfffffft! Manchmal sitze ich auf meiner Terrasse im Fatboy, an anderen Tagen finde ich den Schreibtisch ganz spannend und freitags gibt es nichts besseres als meine Couch, aber auch das Café mit kostenlosem Wlan um die Ecke ist schnuckelig. Anderer Tag, anderer Arbeitsplatz, aber wer braucht schon ein Büro? Ich jedenfalls nicht!

Was hat dich am meisten überrascht an der Arbeit für Yelp?
Wir reden immerhin von Yelp, einer großen Firma mit zahlreichen Abteilungen, CMs auf der ganzen Welt, IT, Übersetzern, Editoren und was weiß ich noch alles. Jedes Jahr werden wir mehr. Wenn wir uns alle treffen, was meistens einmal im Jahr geschieht, fühlt es sich an wie eine Familien-Reunion. Bekannte Gesichter, neue Gesichter - Spannung und Freude in allen Gesichtern und jede Menge Spaß. Egal wie groß wir werden, wir behalten trotzdem die rührende Stimmung einer Familie.  
   
Beschreibe deine Kollegen...
Sie sind nicht nur meine Kollegen, sie sind meine Freunde, meine Stadtführer und die besten Leute zum Rumhängen! Egal wie weit wir voneinander entfernt wohnen und egal wie unterschiedlich unserer Kulturen sind, wir sitzen trotzdem alle im selben Boot und sind uns echt erstaunlich ähnlich. 

Was gefällt dir am besten an der Arbeit für Yelp?
Für Yelp zu arbeiten hat mir die Freiheit gegeben vieles auszuprobieren, kreativ zu sein, die Stadt neu kennenzulernen, durch die Stadt zu laufen mit einem verkleideten Roboter, neue Leute kennenzulernen und fantastische Kollegen auf der ganzen Welt zu haben. Und das allerbeste: Nie wieder elendig früh aufstehen!

 

Don't speak German? Find the English translations below:

2009 was the year Yelp moved beyond the US and Canada and entered Europe for the first time. Since that time expansion has been rapid and Yelp is currently available in 17 countries worldwide. But there is one question in particular we always get asked: Is Yelp the same everywhere?

Well, we thought we’d go directly to the source and ask our community managers all over the world what the Yelp community is like in their cities. Let’s start with Svenja G, our Community Manager in Berlin. She will talk about how she, or rather her sister, heard about Yelp in Germany.

This will be the first of a number of posts from our Community Managers from across Europe that will be published over the coming weeks.

How did you find out about Yelp?    
It was spring 2011, Yelp was still rather unknown in Germany. It was actually my sister who found out about the position. She said "Why don't you apply, this job sounds like it was made for you!" and gosh, was she right! I immediately knew that I wanted to have that job. Now that I mention it, I should send her some flowers for discovering Yelp for me!

What did you do before becoming a CM at Yelp?    
Oh I hardly dare to share that piece of information. I had just returned from Sweden, where I lived for more than 4 years and I was on a hunt for a job back in Germany. I was looking for a job, pretty much any job. And what kind of jobs are easiest and fastest to get? Right, call center it is. I booked beautiful vacations for Swedes... Glamorous, huh?

How do you describe your job to people?    
Well depending on who I am talking to the tone might shift a little more towards the fun or serious side of the job but essentially I would use some of the following components: I explore the city, write newsletter, eat and drink out A LOT, meet great people every single day, throw events for my beloved Yelpers and spread the word of Yelp.

What's been your favorite Yelp moment?     
The greatest thing actually happened by coincidence. It was one of the bar tours that we kicked off at a French-American bar. I was there first and expected about eight to ten people and when I arrived I discovered there would be a live band playing that night. Awesome. After a while more and more people showed up, also a lot of French people. In the end we were more than 30 people, the band started playing French pop songs and everyone had such a good time. When we were about to leave the girl that owned the bar came over, just to thank me for bringing all those lovely people into her bar, also making the gig a blast for the band. Isn't that what Yelp is all about: Connecting people with great local businesses!

What's your "office" like?     
Office?! Psssht! Sometimes I sit in my garden in my Fatboy, on other days my desk is tempting, on Fridays there is nothing better than my couch, but the internet café around the corner is also great. Different day, different work place, but who needs an office?

Describe your co-workers...    
They are not only my co-workers, they are my friends, my local guides and the greatest people to hang out with! No matter how far away we live from each other and no matter how different our cultures are, we all still are in the same boat and are surprisingly similar.

What's your favorite thing about working for a company like Yelp?
I really could not imagine working from 9 to 5 anymore, having a routine and always listening to a boss. Working for Yelp gives me the freedom to try out new things, be creative, explore the city, walk around the city with a human robot, meet new people and I have amazing colleagues all over the world. The best bit: no more getting up at the crack of dawn!

 

 

July 10, 2012

HRH The Duke of York Checks-in to Yelp London

With the announcement that Yelp UK is opening its sales office in London and creating over 100 new jobs in the city, Prince Andrew, The Duke of York checked-in to meet the management team and celebrate the announcement with the employees.

IMG_7933

The largest urban zone in the European Union, a population of almost 8 Million people and host to a thriving Yelp community since January 2009, London is a city that can now also add the accolade of hosting the newest Yelp office!

The Duke of York has long been an ambassador for foreign investment in the UK and expressed his pleasure at the fact that “Yelp has decided to invest further in the UK and use it as the gateway to Europe as it continues to deliver on its impressive international expansion plans”.

We are honoured to have hosted His Royal Highness the Duke of York and we are excited about this next chapter in Yelp’s evolution, especially as the UK becomes an important piece of our European expansion plans.

The Duke in Meeting

July 05, 2012

Eight is great!

Happy 8th Birthday to us! It's hard to believe it's been eight years since Yelp first came onto the scene. In that time we went from 1 city to 17 countries. A handful of employees to more than 1,000. Zero reviews to more than 27 million reviews. And best of all: 71 million monthly unique visitors* like you! 

 

Ic yelp cake

Yelp cake circa 2006 (Inticing Creations)

 

We're excited to celebrate our 8th Birthday all of y'all. What's even better is that this party is just getting started, and we won't rest until you can Yelp your way all around the world! 

Now, who wants cake?

 

*monthly average of unique visitors, Q1 2012