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October 2012

October 30, 2012

Yelp Menus: Connecting People with Great Local Food Porn

It always happens the same way: you were innocently skimming the web and then BAM, it’s 4 a.m. and you have to work in the morning but you just want to see a few more pics. I’m right there with you. Hello, my name is Travis, and I’m a food porn addict.

I hate to break it to you, but your little problem is about to get much more serious thanks to the brand new mouthwatering Menus feature Yelp is rolling out today. We’ve combed the site to compile visual menus incorporating Yelp reviews and user-uploaded food pictures. Now you can not only read about that decadent chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake swimming in a pool of hot fudge, you can see real users’ photos of said gut-busting dessert from every angle right alongside the menu item.

Tartine Yelp Menu

From the business page on the website, the mobile site or your Yelp App, look for the “Explore the Menu” link to see the dedicated menu page. Specifics on menu items, like description and price, will match up with Yelp's user generated photos and reviews mentioning that particular dish. Feeling indecisive? Pick something with the “popular” tag - items Yelpers can’t stop talking about - and you’re guaranteed a good meal. 

Menus will start rolling out today on business pages across the US. With all that menu action in the palm of your hand, we understand it may be tough to resist trying those bacon-wrapped tater tots that 67 people have mentioned in reviews. They do look delicious from every possible angle.

Tartine Yelp Menu
Access Yelp Menus on yelp.com, m.yelp.com and the Yelp mobile app.


Tartine Yelp Menu Tartine Yelp Menu

To get you started on your next culinary adventure here’s a few fan favorites:

Yelpers love the Baby Back Rib Tickler at Phil’s BBQ in San Diego - a steal at just $6.95. On the sweeter side, The Stinking Rose combats fresh breath all over Beverly Hills with Gilroy’s Famous Garlic Ice Cream, an ironic salty-sweet treat that’s stirred up plenty of talk in Yelp reviews. As for deep-fried potato sticks, Shake Shack in New York takes the cake with over 1,500 reviews exclaiming the perfection of their fries, both the naked and covered in cheese varieties.

Your turn! What morsel of culinary creation has your stomach growling for more? Don’t hold out on your fellow Yelpers -- make note of what menu items you tried in your next restaurant review, and upload your own foodie shots with a caption so we know what to order. The more content Yelpers contribute, the better this menus feature will be.

With menus rolling out on the Yelp website, mobile site and mobile app all at once (the first time ever in Yelp product launch history!), the power to plan your meal before stepping foot into a restaurant or order take out with the confidence of a seasoned regular is greater than ever before. If you gain a few pounds, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

October 24, 2012

Welcoming Qype to the Team

I am excited to share that Europe’s largest local reviews site, Qype, has agreed to be acquired by Yelp and become part of our fast growing company. Welcome!

Our mission is to become the defacto choice for local search globally, connecting people with great local businesses all over the world. We’ve built a great foundation, launching Yelp communities in 19 countries so far. Bringing Qype into the fold will enable us to accelerate our international growth and increase our benefit to consumers and businesses.

Qype’s contributors have written more than two million reviews of local businesses, resulting in more than 15 million monthly unique visitors to the service.

Combine that with more than 30 million Yelp reviews and 78 million unique monthly visitors, and you can see why teaming up will make us even better at helping you find that perfect restaurant/museum/dentist/hair salon/shoe store in Los Angeles/Memphis/London/Hamburg/Singapore. It’s a beautiful thing, really.

So, what’s next? As always, we don’t want to disrupt the consumer experience, so we are going to take a deliberate approach to integrating our products, starting with mobile. For today, we simply want to take a moment to celebrate this new union and welcome all the new members of our family.

October 18, 2012

Consumer alerts: because you might like to know...

The value of Yelp for business owners has been proven time and again and is thanks in large part to the high quality content on our site. The review filter, content guidelines and terms of service are all in place to make Yelp a better, more useful place for everyone, business owners and consumers alike. That said, the allure of a page full of five-star reviews can turn even the most ethical business owner starry-eyed and persuade some to attempt to game the system by paying for reviews.

This pretty much breaks every rule in the book, not to mention it’s just wrong to mislead consumers with fake reviews. To combat this, we’ve put on our detective hats, tracked down these rogue solicitations and are now giving you a heads up. Starting today, when we’ve determined that there have been significant attempts to pay for reviews, you may see a warning (like the one below) that some shady practices may be at play.

Consumer Alert Screenshot
The alert will be removed from the business’s Yelp page after 90 days (unless we uncover any renewed efforts to mislead consumers). Initially, nine businesses will have the consumer alert message posted on their profile page, but the company will be posting alerts like these on an on-going basis, as warranted.

Why are we doing this? We want to make sure consumers are making informed decisions. Yelp’s automated review filter is working around the clock to flag these types of biased reviews, and we believe that you deserve the right to know when this type of activity is taking place behind the scenes.

As efforts to game the system continuously evolve, so do our methods for combating it. An independent Businessweek report confirmed the success of Yelp’s efforts to protect consumers. The article details the efforts of a Texan business owner who purchased 200 online reviews in an attempt to artificially bolster his business’s online reputation. The report found that Yelp’s review filter returned “impressive results” catching every purchased review, while the shill reviews remained up on seven other review sites.

Beyond alerting consumers to attempts to purchase reviews, the next step will be to let consumers know if a business has had a large number of reviews submitted from the same Internet Protocol (IP) address, which can be a helpful indicator that they lack authenticity. While the review filter already takes this type of information into account, we believe that consumers also have a right to know if this activity is going on.

To help put this in perspective, the large majority of businesses on Yelp play by the rules and work tirelessly to provide the best customer service and products to their clients. We salute their efforts and entrepreneurship. They inspire us to work even harder to protect the site from faux reviews, so that they have a fair opportunity to bask in the glow of their shining stars.

Rest assured we are not going to let a few bad apples spoil the bunch. 

October 08, 2012

Day in the Life of a Yelp Engineer

Stanford represents on the Yelp Official Blog! Forrest L. takes the hot seat in today's “Day in the Life” blog post. Yelping since the wee age of 16, his love for the site eventually turned into a full-fledged career a few years down the line. 

Favorite Yelp moment EVAR? Hackathon dubstep check-ins. But I won’t ruin it for you -- tell us more, Forrest!



What did you do before coming to Yelp?
I was studying Computer Science at Stanford, with a specialization in Human-Computer Interaction.

How did you first hear about Yelp and the job opening?
I applied for the job on a whim and got it. I have always been a foodie and have been using Yelp since the age of 16, so it was a bit of a shock to suddenly be working on this awesome product I had been using all these years.

What's your title at Yelp and how long have you been with the company?
I’m a Software Engineer on the Biz Team, which builds the website and tools for business owners (biz.yelp.com) as well as Yelp Deals. I’ve been with Yelp since August 2011.

What comprises a typical day for you?
My typical day begins with our team standup meeting, where we get up to speed on what everyone else is working on. After that, most of my day is spent programming - the specifics vary from day to day but they involve some combination of improving the reliability and usability of the site and building awesome new features. This is usually interspersed with copious amounts of Nerf darts and cat pictures.

What's the BEST part of working for Yelp?
The best part of working for Yelp is definitely the people. Everyone here is extremely smart and quirky - you'll discover that the person sitting next to you is a chess master or has written a book on HTML5 in French.

We get to experience the diverse intellectual curiosity of our peers in Friday learning groups, when engineers talk about anything ranging from CSS Preprocessors to British culture, or in small after-work clubs where people learn improv, play board games, and drink whiskey.

But despite our multifarious interests, at the end of the day we’re all working towards a common goal - to build a great site that millions of people use each day.

What is your favorite perk at Yelp?
Darwin. It’s pretty cool having the CEO’s Vizsla roam the office, trying to eat your trash and barking at intruding small children. Just give him a quick back rub as he walks by, and you’ll be on his good side.

What has been your favorite memory at Yelp?
Every quarter we have a hackathon, where we get to build anything we want over the course of two days. This is where we come up with crazy ideas for site features or just some cool toys for the office - including the legendary KegMate and a weather balloon that checked in from space. The project that I’m most proud of was where we turned Yelp Check-Ins into music. We extracted device and city information from each Check-In and turned this live stream of data into (pretty convincing) dubstep!

What separates Yelp from other places you've worked?
At Yelp, we're all about working hard and playing hard. Sure, we have all sorts of shiny toys that add to the experience, but we're still deeply passionate about the products we work on. Unlike other places I've worked at, we don't have very many meetings or bureaucratic processes that get in the way of our mission of getting things done here. Fun distractions, however, are welcomed.

Last, but not least, what would be your one piece of advice for someone interested in your role?
Build stuff. Contribute to open source, work on side projects, and let your passion for engineering show. There’s nothing more exciting than working with someone who’s built an online Pokémon battle arena in their spare time.


October 03, 2012

Poland set to Yelp loud and proud!

Yelp zawitał do Polski

Co wiesz na temat swojego kraju?

Graniczy z siedmioma państwami? Ma dostęp do Morza Bałtyckiego na północy? Znajduje się tutaj jedyna pustynia w Europie Środkowej? Jest to miejsce z bogatą ofertą kulturalną i licznymi zabytkami, które każdego roku przyciągają miliony turystów?

Co mogłoby sprawić, aby Twój opis Polski stał się pełniejszy?

A gdybyśmy powiedzieli Ci, że od dzisiaj Yelp jest dostępny również w Polsce i, że udostępniamy Ci tym samym kulturalne, kulinarne, oraz rozrywkowe bogactwo społeczności Yelp, dzięki której dowiesz się, co ten kraj ma najlepszego do zaoferowania?

Tak, wiedzieliśmy, że to ci się spodoba!

  Yelp Poland Screenshot

Od teraz będziesz mógł znaleźć, sprawdzić oraz napisać recenzję wybranej usługi w Polsce i udostępnić ją swoim znajomym.

W momencie wprowadzenia na rynek, Yelp skoncentruje swoje siły wokół budowania społeczności w  dwóch miastach: w Warszawie - gospodarczej, politycznej i biznesowej stolicy kraju, a także w Krakowie - historycznym centrum, w którym znajduje się zachwycające Stare Miasto, dawna dzielnica żydowska, a obecnie zagęszczenie najmodniejszych klubów - Kazimierz oraz Wawel.  Choć każde z tych miast ma swój unikalny klimat, to w obu z nich będziesz mógł(ogła) znaleźć najlepsze miejsce serwujące np. solidne porcje sycących kotletów schabowych. Tylko pamiętaj, żeby zamówić do nich buraczki na lepsze trawienie.

W Polsce, będącej ojczyzną sławnego kompozytora Fryderyka Chopina, produkowana jest również wódka Chopin, wielokrotnie nagradzany, luksusowy rodzaj alkoholu, który powinien skosztować każdy odwiedzający Polskę. Jeśli nie jesteś wielbicielem mocnych trunków, możesz przenieść się do zamierzchłych czasów i skosztować rozgrzewającego miodu pitnego idealnego na nadchodzące zimowe miesiące - Na zdrowie!

Oprócz wyszukiwania najlepszych restauracji, polscy Yelpersi będa też mogli recenzować inne usługi, takie jak butiki, muzea czy  ośrodki spa.

Oznacza to, że  każdy będzie  mógł  poznać wszystko to, co najlepsze oraz pomóc innym unikać miejsc, które nie są warte polecenia.

Wejdź na Yelp.pl i nie zapomnij ściągnąć aplikacji mobilnej Yelp, aby mieć bezpośredni dostęp do tego, co najlepsze w Polsce.

Właściciele firm dodatkowo będą mieli możliwość skorzystania ze strony biz.yelp.pl,  na której za darmo można zarejestrować stronę firmową oraz utworzyć swój profil.

Witamy w Polsce!

Poland set to Yelp loud and proud!

Bordered by seven countries, the Baltic Sea to the North, and home to Central Europe’s only desert, Poland boasts a wealth of cultural and historical attractions that attract millions of visitors every year and entertains 38.5 million inhabitants all year-round.

What could make that introduction to Poland any better you may ask…? What if we told you that as of today Yelp is available across the country, opening up this cultural, culinary, artistic and entertaining wealth to the global Yelp community to review, share and test the best the country has to offer? Yep, thought that would do it.

Yelp is focusing its community building efforts on 2 individual locations at launch: Warsaw, the economic, political and business capital, as well as Krakow, the historic centre which includes the Old Town, Kazimierz and the Wawel Castle and was included as the first of its kind on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978. Each city has its own very unique feel, but each one provides you the opportunity of seeking out the best place to get your hands on a hearty serving of the stomach filling Zrazy, just make sure you offset it with a side of Buraczki to help with digestion – that stuff will stick to your ribs! ;)

Home of the famous composer Chopin, Poland is also home to Chopin Vodka – an award winning luxury and a must try! If hard liquor is not your thing, how about stepping back in time and grabbing hold of a goblet of miód pitny to warm you up during the impending winter months - Na zdrowie!

Not limited to finding the best places to eat and drink, Yelpers in Poland will be able to review all types of businesses including fashion boutiques, museums and spas, meaning the community will be making the most of what’s good and helping others steer away from everything that’s not so good.

Jump into Yelp.pl and don’t forget to download Yelp’s mobile app to have the best of Poland at your fingertips. Business owners can get in the act too at biz.yelp.pl where they can claim their business page for free and start building their profile.

Witamy w Polsce!