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December 2012

December 21, 2012

Here's to 2012!

To say 2012 was a big year for Yelp is an understatement. Our team members across the globe worked hard to make this year a momentous one for Yelp. Looking back on all we’ve accomplished, I’m even more excited to get started on 2013. Some moments from the past year worth remembering:

  • Launching abroad in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Singapore, Poland and Turkey, bringing Yelp to a grand total of 20 countries
  • Deepening our presence in the US with community efforts in metros like Albuquerque, Chicago North Shore, Atlanta OTP, Hampton Roads, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City and Buffalo
  • Welcoming Qype to the Yelp team in October
  • New tools and product releases including Yelpy Insights, new metrics for business owners, a homepage redesign, Yelp Gift Certificates and Yelp Menus
  • Introducing our mobile app monetization efforts and seeing 45% of search traffic coming from mobile
  • The Yelp IPO in March
  • Integrations with Siri, Apple Maps and Bing local search
  • Growing our Yelp employee count by almost 40% and opening a sales office in London
  • The creation of the Yelp Foundation and its matching of employee donations to give more than $100,000 to charity
  • Hitting a whopping 84 million monthly average unique visitors and seeing 8.2 million unique mobile devices use Yelp's mobile application on a monthly average basis during Q3 2012

Recap 2012 Collage 2

That list is nothing to sneeze at, and I’m just skimming the surface! As we start into next year, we’ll work just as hard to bring you the best possible experience on Yelp, whether you are sitting at a desktop computer or out and about with your smartphone.

We look forward to spending time with the Yelp community and hope to see you online and at upcoming Yelp events in your city. Yelp wouldn’t be here without you and the local knowledge you’ve shared in over 33 million reviews to date.

I’m very proud of what our team has accomplished over the last year and am so thankful to be surrounded by people that share the same vision of connecting people with great local businesses.

So there you go, my moment of waxing poetic on 2012. Happy holidays everyone, and cheers to the new year!

December 18, 2012

On the Road with NYSE & Accion

Some of the top issues that challenge growth for small businesses and entrepreneurs are access to capital, access to a network of qualified leads and access to mentors or experts that they can learn from. As part of NYSE's Big Startup Initiative, Yelp was able to join forces with microlender Accion to develop the Small Business Connections Tour, a nationwide series of free workshops aimed at providing business owners with high demand education to address these issues.
(photos courtesy of accionusnetwork)

Small Business Connections just wrapped up in San Diego, CA after hitting 10 major U.S. cities. The curriculum shared during these town hall style meet-ups provided business owners with an opportunity to:

  • Learn how to attract more business through Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Learn how to access capital via microlender Accion
  • Hear from other local business owners who have developed successful operations

During the tour, Yelp’s Business Outreach team spoke to over 650 business owners from a variety of industries and answered questions from the basic (“What’s Yelp?”) to the more in-depth (“What’s the best way to address online critics?”). Given 85% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last 12 months, Yelp also gave a detailed overview of how businesses can take advantage of the free tools available on major social media platforms.

Feedback from the events was very positive with many attendees mentioning that they walked away with 3-4 concrete ways to improve their business through marketing. People also shared that they enjoyed the opportunity to network with their peers during the breakout sessions to swap ideas about what it takes to grow a successful business. Based on the feedback we received, we achieved our goal of providing business owners with actionable takeaways using real world examples. In case you’re interested, a copy of the full Small Business Connections presentation can be found here.

So what’s next for the Big Startup Initiative in 2013? You’ll have to check out our Blog for Business Owners in the near future to find out.

December 12, 2012

Turkish Delight!

Türk Lokumu!

Yelp Türkiye’de iş hayatına açılıyor

Duygularınıza memnuniyetle karşılayacağınız bir biçimde hücum eden, hayat dolu bir kültür, miras ve coğrafya mozaiği ile Türkiye, hemen herkese tanıdık gelecek egzotik bir dokunuşla hitap etmeyi başarıyor. Tarihinde Avrupa’yı kahve ile, Hollanda’yı lale ile tanıştıran, orjinal Santa Claus’un (St. Nicholas) ana vatanı, Nuh’un Gemisinin son durağı (Ağrı Dağı) ve en eski insan yerleşkesine (Çatalhöyük, 7500 M.Ö.) yurt olarak bilinen Türkiye, şimdi de Yelp topluluğunun yirminci ev sahibi ülkesi olmayı uzun başarılar listesine eklemek üzere.

Konu yemek, içmek ve paylaşmak olunca Türkler, her şeyin en iyisini bulmak için uzun yola gitmeye razıdırlar, sonra da bunu ortaya koyup aile, arkadaş ve gelen her misafir ile paylaşmaktan memnun olurlar. Türk kebabı yedim diyenlere bir sözümüz var, bir kez daha düşünün, bu konuda bildiğiniz her şeyi unutun ve mahalli bir İskender kebapçıda bir bardak ayran eşliğinde yemeklere yumulun veya bir kaç kadeh Rakı da iyi gidebilir, sonra bırakın dünya dönsün kendi ahenginde. Yalnız Rakıyı fazla kaçırmayın sakın ha, yoksa Boğaziçi’nde pembe filleri kovalarsınız.

Istanbul screenshot

Başlangıçta, topluluk oluşturma çabalarımız, sınırları iki kıtaya yayılan tek dünya şehri olan İstanbul’da yoğunlaşacak ama, Yelp’çiler, yurtlarının her yöresindeki gerçekten çok iyi olan veya pek de o kadar iyi olmayan iş yerlerini değerlendirebilecek, bunları hem hemşerileri ile hem de turistlerle paylaşabilecekler – onları nerede bir tavşan kanı çay veya bol köpüklü Türk kahvesi içileceğinden, Kapalı Çarşı labirentinde nasıl dolaşılacağına kadar bir çok konuda yönlendirebilecekler.

Bugünden itibaren Türkiye’de yaşayanlar, Yelp.com.tr adresinden profillerini oluşturabilirler ve mobil uygulamaları kullanabilirler. İş yeri sahipleri de kendi ücretsiz sayfalarını yaratabilir, biz.yelp.com.tr  adresinde profillerini oluşturmaya başlayabilirler.



Turkish Delight!
Yelp Turkey opens for business

A vivid mosaic of culture, heritage and geography, mixed with a welcomed assault on the senses, Turkey manages to provide a touch of the exotic and the familiar to almost everyone. Having already brought coffee to Europe, tulips to the Dutch, being home to the original Santa Claus (St Nicholas), the final resting place of Noah’s Ark (Mount Ararat) and recognised as home to the oldest known human settlement (Catalhoyuk, 7500BC), Turkey can now add the accolade of being the twentieth country to host a Yelp community to its extremely long list of achievements.

When it comes to eating, drinking and sharing, the Turks go out of their way to find the best of everything, bring it together and share it with family, friends and any misafir (guest) they stumble across. For those that think they have tasted a Turkish kebab, think again, clear your mind, forget everything you think you have ever learned about the subject and tuck in to a local İskender kebab, accompany it with a cup of Ayran, or swill it down with a few shots of Raki and just watch the world go by. But go light on the Raki, one glass too many and you’ll be chasing pink elephants into the Bosphorus!

Our initial community building efforts in Turkey will concentrate on Istanbul, the only city in the world to span two continents, but Yelpers can rate and review the great and the not-so-great businesses from across the country and share what their neighbourhoods have to offer both locals and tourists – from pointing them to the best cup of strong black çay or Turkish coffee to helping them navigate the maze of the Grand Bazaar.

As of today, people in Turkey can log on to Yelp.com.tr, create their profile, access and use the mobile apps, while businesses can claim their page for free and start building their profile at biz.yelp.com.tr.


Building Back After Sandy

Like many of my fellow Yelpers, the Northeastern states are part of who I am: before moving to California this fall, I lived my entire life along Washington, DC, New Jersey and its shores, and New York City. So when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast and ravaged my old stomping grounds, I felt like we had to help the Northeastern corridor get back on its feet. Our Community Managers on the ground in the tri-state area have led the charge with the Yelp Builds Back initiative, but today we’re excited to announce two additional campaigns.

1. Yelp is partnering with Speaker Christine Quinn and City Hall's "Support NYC Small Business" campaign to encourage patronage of businesses hit hardest by Sandy. We've donated banner ad space to drive traffic and raise awareness about these tools. Here are some neighborhoods with businesses that have recently re-opened in the wake of the superstorm:

Coney Island Brighton Beach
Financial District 1
Financial District 2
Lower East Side
Red Hook
Rockaway 1
Rockaway 2
Staten Island 1
Staten Island 2
South Street Seaport

The City of New York has also created a really helpful interactive map which will be updated frequently: http://www.supportnycsmallbusiness.com/

2. During times of crisis, predatory opportunism can rear its ugly head. Price gouging is still being reported in affected areas. To help raise awareness among consumers about resources available to combat price gouging, we’re encouraging Yelpers to report gouging to the New York and New Jersey Attorneys General offices. We've donated ad space to this effect, as well.
Screen Shot 2012-12-11 at 5.58.16 PM

If you're in the greater New York City metropolitan area and want to learn about ongoing events and opportunities to join Yelp in helping local businesses, keep an eye on our Yelp Builds Back events page.

Whether you're simply making an effort to patronize these local businesses, participating in today's 12/12/12 concert, or volunteering at a relevant charity, we encourage you to join in the effort to build back.

December 07, 2012

How a Restaurant Critic Uses Yelp

If you didn’t know who New York Times Restaurant Critic Pete Wells was before, you probably do now after his famous (infamous?) review of Guy Fieri’s new Times Square restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar. Pete’s review spread through the interwebs like a case of mono in a college dorm, leaving many (present company included) clamoring to know more about Pete. What are his pet peeves? What is his personal taste in food? And...does he use Yelp?

Thanks to a recent reader-submitted Q&A published by the New York Times, we shall clamor no more! On the topic of Yelp, Pete says:

“I look at Yelp and some other sites with user-generated reviews all the time, particularly when I’m curious about a place that hasn’t received much attention yet from professional critics. I wouldn’t say they inform my reviews, but they might be one factor that helps guide me when I’m deciding whether to check out a place I haven’t heard very much about. I don’t put much stock in the individual reviews but I do scan the bulk of them to look for common areas of delight or disapproval. I do wish there were a way to filter out all the Yelp reviews that are based solely on brunch, but that might not leave very much content.”

With the exception of excluding brunch (why would you ever want to do that?!), Pete’s method is one we see a lot of users employing. Crowdsourced content on the hottest local spots often leads Yelpers to places that haven’t yet made it into the headlines of major media, and scanning the reviews on a business page will reveal fan favorite offerings as well as things you might want to avoid. Yelp’s review highlights feature (see below) makes finding these commonalities a breeze, and for restaurants, our new Explore the Menu feature calls out the most popular items Yelpers can’t stop talking about.

Review Highlights Screenshot

So there you have it. Pete Wells: New York Times restaurant critic, wordsmith and expert Yelp user.

December 05, 2012

Get Your Local Shop On with Yelp this Holiday Season

Now that you’ve recovered from the Black Friday madness, or if you were too scared to leave your house for fear of getting trampled like we were, it’s time to start that holiday shopping for realz. Instead of aimlessly wandering down neon-lit aisles to find the same gifts that everyone else is getting, why not jump on Yelp to discover top-rated, locally owned shops that are brimming with unique gifts for everyone on your list? Shopping is the largest category of reviewed businesses on Yelp, so there’s plenty to choose from.

Yelp is all about supporting local businesses 24/7, 365, but the holiday season is an especially important time to remember that shopping locally can make a huge impact on your economy. For every $100 a consumer spends at an independent retailer, $45 stays local.

In its third year now, the Yelp Shops Local Pledge is being proudly promoted by more than 50 of our Community Managers around the world, driving awareness of the importance of supporting local business communities during the holidays. Check out the list of participating markets below and if you see your city listed, all you do is click “I’m in!” on the pledge page to show your intent to buy from local merchants and encourage others to follow your lead.

YSL Logo
Not only are these CMs gathering pledges, they are also upping the fun factor with tons of festive events to get Yelpers in the holiday spirit. Here are just a few of the shopportunities coming up:

- Holiday marketplaces will bring local merchants together in one convenient location to knock out your shopping list in one go. Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Orange County will round up the goods for you to gander.

- Shop crawls take the show on the road in Hamburg, North County San Diego, Tucson, Florence and Seattle, leading Yelpers through the doors of several shops on a spend-worthy stroll.

- Ruggy J., our Yelp Manhattan Community Manager, collaborated with CMs from nearby boroughs to host Yelp Builds Back, an aggregate of events and volunteer opportunities to help out the local businesses and neighborhoods in need of some special love post-Superstorm Sandy.

- Every day through Dec. 25, Yelp Cincinnati Community Manager Cindy G. is celebrating 30 Days of Yelpmas, encouraging her community to take on a new Yelp Shops local challenge and check out a different local spot offering a fun event, special Yelp Deal or Check-in Offer.

Don’t have a Yelp Shops Local Pledge in your city? That’s ok! Anyone can use Yelp to find great local shops and therefore join the effort to support local. Search for stores on Yelp and bookmark your faves to try - sort by neighborhood, price range, store type and more to pinpoint your retail soulmate. Dealhounds can search by shops offering money-saving Yelp Deals, while Yelp’s Holiday Gift Guide rounds up easily giftable gift certificates to top-rated businesses. Yelp’s mobile app guides on-the-go shoppers to nearby Deals, spots to grab a bite or drink, stores that are open now, and generates directions and calls to local businesses. 

This holiday season, and all through the year, remember to shop local for good times and cheer!


Yelp Shops Local in North America:

Albuquerque, NM
Atlanta, GA
Boston, MA
Buffalo, NY
Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland, OH
Columbus, OH
Dallas, TX
Detroit, MI
East Bay, CA
Hampton Roads, VA
Hartford, CT
Honolulu, HI
Houston, TX
Indianapolis, IN
Kansas City, MO
Las Vegas, NV
Los Angeles, CA
Louisville, KY
Madison, WI
Maryland 'Burbs, MD
Milwaukee, WI
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
Montréal, QC
Nashville, TN
North County San Diego, CA
Northern Virginia
Oklahoma City, OK
Orange County, CA
Orlando, FL
Ottawa, ON
Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix, AZ
Pittsburgh, PA
Providence, RI
Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC
Richmond, VA
Saint Louis, MO
Salt Lake City, UT
San Antonio, TX
Seattle, WA
South Bay-Peninsula, CA
Toronto, ON
Tucson, AZ
Washington, DC

Yelp Shops Local in Europe:

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Berlin, Germany
Birmingham, UK
Brussels, Belgium
Florence, Italy
Hamburg, Germany
Lyon, France
Madrid, Spain
Marseille, France
Milan, Italy
Rome, Italy
Seville, Spain