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September 2012

September 19, 2012

Check out Yelp on Apple’s new maps app for iOS 6!

At Apple’s media event last week, they officially announced the new iPhone 5 and iOS 6 and gave the audience a sneak peak into Yelp content integrated into their new maps app. Today, users can upgrade to iOS 6 and check out the awesome new features for themselves!

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(Photo credit: Engadget)

Yelp’s integration with Apple maps is now available on iOS 6 on all iPads and iPhones - from the new iPhone 5 back to the iPhone 3GS - and in 17 of the countries where Yelp has a presence.

Apple maps users will be able to access snippets of Yelp reviews and photos, all directly in the map experience. With this integration, users will be able to add photos and Tips to a Yelp listing, call and map directions to a business’s front door and check-in to a business directly from Apple maps. Users can also easily link to the Yelp app directly if they’re looking for additional information.

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We’re excited to continue to work with Apple to provide users with a more streamlined experience, especially as increasingly more people turn to mobile devices to discover great local businesses.


What are you waiting for? Go upgrade now!

September 17, 2012

New Study Reinforces the Value Of Yelp For Businesses

A recent study by two UC Berkeley professors found that “Yelp ratings affect both customer flows and the probability of booking a reservation” for restaurants. While this new research has been generating some buzz, the findings are actually quite similar to a study conducted last year by Michael Luca of Harvard Business School. Both sets of independent research reinforce an important fact: Yelp can be a valuable tool for businesses looking to increase their revenue.




Here’s a quick breakdown of the two studies.

Michael Anderson and Jeremy Magruder, UC Berkeley:

  • This study looked at the effect of positive Yelp ratings on restaurant reservation availability in San Francisco, CA.
  • An extra half-star rating causes restaurants to sell out 19 percentage points more frequently (increase from 30% to 49% of the time), and up to 27 percentage points more frequently when alternate information is more scarce (e.g., Yelp is the only source of information about the business).
  • “Because Yelp collects and aggregates the experiences of a large number of patrons, Yelp provides a convenient forum to solve asymmetric information problems about the quality of unfamiliar restaurants.” In other words, Yelp is a great source of info when researching a business you’re unfamiliar with.

Michael Luca, Harvard Business School:

  • This study looked at the positive correlation between an increase in Yelp ratings and revenue for restaurants in Seattle, WA.
  • “[A] one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue...[and] this effect is driven by independent restaurants.”
  • One under-reported component of the study: using a statistical analysis, Luca debunks the assertion that “gaming” (fake reviews from business owners) is skewing the data. (Thanks, Review Filter!)
  • Yelp's review penetration within the Seattle market far exceeds other sources of restaurant reviews.

When asked about his thoughts on the Berkeley paper, professor Michael Luca had this to say: “That paper does a nice job confirming the results from my work. The findings don’t surprise me, per se, but do demonstrate that the impact of Yelp extends well beyond Seattle (where my study took place), using a similar method but a different measure for demand. Crowdsourced information, and Yelp in particular, is a phenomenon worth studying and I think there is a lot more to learn.”

Although both papers focus on the restaurant industry, it’s important to note that restaurants only make up 21% of the reviewed businesses on Yelp. If there’s ever been any question about the correlation between online word of mouth and consumer purchasing decisions, the findings from these studies should remove any doubt. For businesses, the best strategy to build a strong reputation and take advantage of a great rating starts in the offline world with great customer service, allowing reviews to build on Yelp organically. This video highlights the story of a few business owners who have had success on this front.


September 13, 2012

Slinging into Asia - Yelp roars into Singapore

Singapore is home to five million inhabitants who know how to take advantage of this equatorial island nation’s abundant treasures. Well-documented are its shiny casinos and infinity pools, but there’s a lot more to this Little Red Dot than that. Just ask the folks on Yelp Singapore!

Consider, for example, the world’s largest orchid display, the first purpose-built toy museum and more than 15,000 hawker stalls.  The local cuisine is impressive, too: from the growing gourmet coffee and cocktail culture to firm favourites like chili crab, chicken rice and dim sum.  Insomniacs can shop at the Mustafa Centre 24/7, where they can buy iPhones, imported sweets from India and almost everything else imaginable (except pork and alcohol, of course).

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The people of Singapore are discerning tastemakers with a strong sense of pride in the diversity of their cuisine and culture, and we’re excited to see how their eclectic tastes will contribute to the growth of their very own Yelp community. Starting today, Yelpers can rate and review businesses throughout the Lion City, from the best kopitiam to a spot to sample spicy sambal stringray.

Log on to Yelp.com.sg or download Yelp’s mobile app to start sharing your own Singaporean secrets.  Businesses, too, can get in on the action at biz.yelp.com.sg by claiming their page for free and building out their profile.  


Majulah Singapura -- Onward Singapore!


September 12, 2012

Introducing Gift Certificates - the newest product feature for local business owners

Here at Yelp we’re always looking for new ways to connect consumers with great local businesses. Last summer we introduced Yelp Deals, and today we’re excited to introduce the latest in our line of advertising and marketing products for small business owners: Gift Certificates.

Businesses are now able to sell gift certificates direct to consumers through their Yelp business profile page. Gift certificates are not discounted like Deals are. They're full-value cash equivalents. For example: I buy you a $100 gift certificate to the hottest restaurant in town (for your 40th birthday, poor thing), it costs me $100 (and is worth every cent), and is valid for $100 worth of drink and food (in that order) at said eatery. Easy, right?


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Earlier this year we tested the concept to see what sort of response it would generate relative to Yelp Deals.

Here’s what we learned:

  • When giving gifts, some were reluctant to give a discounted product, like deals.
  • Some deals are priced too low to cover the cost of a full meal or service (example: a $20 for $40 deal doesn’t cover the cost of a 90 minute facial at your favorite day spa).
  • Deals are a great way to present a new customer with a reason to try your business.
  • Gift certificates are helpful for turning your existing customers into some of your best promoters.


We’ve spent a lot of time working on this new feature and we’re eager to hear what business owners think. We’d also like to give a quick shout out to our Small Business Advisory Council who provided some solid feedback on this new feature. High fives all the way around!

Soooo…is it too early to talk about holiday shopping? Ouch! Hey, who threw that paper wad at my head!

 

September 11, 2012

Senator Schumer Checks-in to Yelp NYC (Future Home to a Bunch of New Jobs)


Screen Shot 2012-09-10 at 12.08.48 PMNew York Yelpers were excited to welcome Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) for a tour of our ever-expanding offices in the Union Square neighborhood of Manhattan.
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Along with a mandatory stop by the kegmate, Senator Schumer was able to chat with employees, catch up with Jeremy, and witness some real-time visualizations of Yelp searches throughout the world.Screen Shot 2012-09-10 at 12.07.53 PM
The most exciting part of the tour, however, was a sneak peak of our soon-to-be-christened space. Over the next six months, Yelp will be significantly expanding its presence in NYC with lots of new jobs.Photo(1)
In other words, we’re aggressively hiring.

Check out yelp.com/careers if you’re interested in learning more about joining our team.