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October 2013

October 29, 2013

Meeting of the Minds: Yelp’s 2013 Business Owner Summit

Four years ago, we brought a group of thoughtful business owners together to brainstorm ways that Yelp could continue to improve our features and policies that directly impact local businesses. Fast forward to today and Yelp’s Small Business Advisory Council (YSBAC) consists of 26 active members, representing local businesses in five countries including the US, Canada, Australia, Ireland and the UK.

Earlier this month, YSBAC members traveled from around the world to attend our yearly summit at Yelp HQ in San Francisco. During the event, new members and a handful of returning YSBAC veterans met with Yelp’s CEO and co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman, COO Geoff Donaker and other company leaders to discuss a wide range of topics. The main goals of the summit are to provide council members with a better understanding of how Yelp works, how decisions are made within the company and to generate new ideas for Yelp’s executive team to consider.

According to first-year council member, Jonah Holland of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, “I felt that as a representative of a non-profit attraction, I could offer Yelp a different perspective than many of the other small business owners.” Meanwhile, David Potwin of Lettuce B. Frank said, “the questions raised and ideas shared during our lunch with Jeremy were the most informative and useful of the day.”

In case you’re wondering what sort of impact the YSBAC has had over the years, here are some examples of improvements we’ve made with their help:

  • Yelp Metrics were launched to help business owners track customer leads

  • Business owner review comments are now visible on mobile

  • We developed a free Revenue Estimate tool to calculate the value of leads from Yelp

  • Yelp hosted 40 workshops for business owners in cities across the US and Canada with more on the way for our international audience

  • The activity feed was created to track when and how Yelp drives customers to businesses

  • More performance based advertising options were rolled out

At the end of this year’s summit, the group put their heads together to generate a healthy list of new ideas and action items. Be sure to check out our Blog for Business Owners to stay updated on any new products or features we launch with the help of their feedback.

October 10, 2013

Android Users: Prepare for a Thumb Workout with Today's Addition of Mobile Reviews

Recently, we announced the ability to write reviews on iPhone and today we’re excited to extend this feature to Android as well! We'll be rolling out v5.0 today to everybody, so you can download the latest version of the app and start contributing those useful, funny and cool reviews on-the-go, straight from your mobile devices.

Android_review_1a

With this new addition, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at what Yelpers have been reviewing on mobile and, as it turns out, it’s a little bit of everything. Not only are consumers raving about (and uploading photos of) the to-die-for apple pie à la mode they just devoured, they’re also sharing their thoughts on auto mechanics, gyms and plumbers.

They’re also loving what they’re reviewing. We’ve long known that Yelpers have and share more positive experiences than negative ones and the same is true for mobile contributions. For those who wondered if the ability to write reviews instantly would lead to more rants and raves in the heat of the moment, we found that star ratings for reviews written on mobile closely mirror what we see on the desktop site, with about 80% of reviews being 3, 4 and 5 stars. Consumers are clearly taking the time to write thoughtful reviews of their experiences with local businesses.

Android_review_2a
Last quarter, Yelp’s mobile application was used on nearly 10.4 million unique mobile devices on a monthly average basis and the new ability to contribute reviews on mobile has been an exciting addition for everyone: those who write reviews and those who rely on those reviews to help guide their spending decisions.