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September 2013

September 30, 2013

Yelp's Movin' on Down the Peninsula to Palo Alto

While most SF Yelp employees have been busy moving their files, pictures, stuffed animals, flying machines, Nerf guns, etc. over to our new SF headquarters (more on that news coming soon!), a lucky few on our Engineering team have set up shop in Yelp’s brand new Palo Alto office.

That’s right, we’re looking for new brains to tackle technical challenges, make Yelp’s development efforts more productive and scalable, eat the delicious Yelp cakes that abound and generally bask in the glory of Yelp’s Palo Alto presence.

Yelp Cake

This spot is right in the thick of things in the heart of Silicon Valley. Commuters won’t break a sweat, with the Caltrain station at California Avenue mere blocks away.

Do you live in the Valley and tear up a bit at the thought of commuting to SF? Problem solved. No need to leave the Silicon circle when you can join the Yelp engineering team in South Bay.

Already daydreaming about your new life as a Yelp employee in Palo Alto? What a sweet, sweet vision it is, with plenty of projects to challenge your skill and a prime location smack dab in the middle of killer local businesses and lunch spots.

Head on over to our Engineering Blog for more deets on the type of talent we’re looking to add to our Software Development team in this satellite office, and check out our current job openings at yelp.com/careers.

September 27, 2013

Fake reviews on Yelp?! Don’t worry, we’ve got your back

A Harvard Business School study came out earlier this week that confirms something we have long known: businesses that don’t have a good reputation online will try to create one by submitting phony reviews to web sites.

The good news is that Yelp has been successfully fighting these attempts to deceive consumers since the very beginning.

Yelp uses sophisticated software to sift through the more than 42 million reviews contributed to find the most reliable and helpful ones. We highlight these for consumers by publishing them on our business listing pages. Those reviews that don’t make the cut -- which include the ones we think might come from the businesses themselves -- get filtered out.

This algorithm, or review filter (perhaps you’ve heard of it -- spammers and shady SEO companies don’t much like it and aren’t shy about saying so), only selects about 75% of reviews to highlight at any given time.

This means about 25% of the reviews *submitted* to Yelp are not published on a business’s listing or recommended to consumers. Among these reviews are the ones the Harvard study found likely to be fakes submitted by businesses themselves.

The study’s findings shouldn’t come as a complete surprise -- as consumers increasingly turn to online reviews to find a local business, the incentive to artificially improve one’s reputation also increases.

But neither should the fact that Yelp has been on guard against these very same reviews from our earliest days.

That’s how we keep Yelp useful for consumers and local businesses.

September 26, 2013

Yelp and NY AG go after fake review industry

We all know buying or selling phony reviews of a business is wrong. This week, 19 businesses in New York learned the hard way that it’s also illegal.


Photo courtesy of New York Attorney General

We think it’s great the New York Attorney General took action against these businesses that try to mislead consumers. In fact, we helped him.

Because Yelp uses sophisticated software to filter reviews and weed out less reliable ones, we identify -- and take action against -- concerted campaigns to game the system quite frequently. As a result, we were able to give the NY AG’s office some solid leads on which businesses to go after.

And we have more. We would love to work with law enforcement officials in other states to crack down on this unethical practice.

While we take many steps already to protect our users from fake reviews -- from our review filter to our Consumer Alert program to filing lawsuits -- having an attorney general take legal action against these spammers sends a public message: buying or selling reviews isn’t just wrong, it’s against the law. That can be a powerful deterrent.

But don’t worry, we’ll keep watching out for consumers behind the scenes, too. Just in case.

September 11, 2013

Yelp Elite Spotlight: Danella L. explores historic Florence with Yelp

For our next edition of the Elite spotlight series, we’re traveling to Florence, Italy to get to know Danella L. As one of the first Elites in Florence, she is dubbed the “Check-In Queen” and has tons to share about the Yelp community and the great local businesses Florence boasts.

“Danella is a fantastic Elite,” says Florence Community Manager Kristina G. “Her reviews and the amount of sincere details she includes makes every experience a story to tell on Yelp.” In addition to her descriptive reviews, Kristina adds that she is “always coming to Yelp events, talking with everyone and making the Florence Yelp community a brighter place to be with her warmth and style!”

Without further ado, let’s meet this stylish, passionate local...

Danella original
Danella L. (Florence, IT)

Q: Yelp is more than just a restaurant review site. What else have you discovered on Yelp?
A: My boyfriend Scott W. and I entered a "check-in" war of the piazzas and historical landmarks around Florence. He would take different routes home, walking or biking from work, and I would walk around the historical center so we could each get new dukedoms and beat each other (we only check-in to places we really go to). With Yelp and my new obsession, I ended up discovering so many more historical spots than I already knew, and with the informative reviews, tips, pics, and interactive map, I was able to know my new city in a completely new and exciting way.

Q: What are the top three local spots you’re loving in your city right now?
A: 1) Ponte Santa Trinita: A beautiful bridge with so much history. I love to sit on its edge, see the Arno river below my swinging feet, and stare at the Ponte Vecchio as I eat my gelato. Sometimes the simplest activities give you the best rewards. It was my birthday last week and this bridge was on my list of things to do on my special day.

Ponte santa trinita
Photo of Ponte Santa Trinita via Andrea G. on Yelp

2) King Grizzly: Drinking beer is a social activity and this place provides not only a unique and tasty craft beer selection but also the kick-ass and chilled atmosphere I like. I'm so over the super-loud, super-crowded places.

3) Thursday Plant Market: I am truly dangerous in this place. Nothing makes me happier than spending g's on plants. This market has the best priced plants in the center, and it's so beautiful to see the loggia next to the old piazza full of happy little flowers. Thankfully, this market is only open on Thursdays, otherwise my house would be a live-in jungle.

Thursday plant market
Photo of Thursday Plant Market via Danella L. on Yelp

Q: What does it mean to you to be part of the Yelp Elite Squad?
A: As an Elite, I feel responsible for being a city explorer and investigator, always in search for the dopest spots and sharing them with others. Also, as an Elite I feel responsible for correcting business information if the address on the Yelp page incorrectly sent me to the other side of the city.


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