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July 2014

July 28, 2014

Introducing the Newest Members of Yelp’s Small Business Advisory Council!

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We formed Yelp’s Small Business Advisory Council (“YSBAC”) back in 2010 to provide us with input and guidance from our community of local business owners. Today the YSBAC includes 25 active members representing local businesses in five countries and has inspired numerous product and feature developments at Yelp. Over 1,000 small business owners applied to participate in this year’s council and we’re excited to unveil the names of our new, as well as returning, members! The latest edition of YSBAC will include:

*Returning council member.

YSBAC members will participate in regular conference calls to provide input on existing features, policies, products under development, and to brainstorm new ideas. New members will also participate in our annual summit held at Yelp HQ where they’ll meet with Yelp's top executives and department heads to share their perspectives as small business owners.

 

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We strive to work closely with the small business community, and the YSBAC is one of several ways that we do this. We also offer free educational webinars, workshops with our Business Outreach team, and advice for navigating the world of online reviews via our Blog for Business Owners. We look forward to continuing our efforts and developing new ways to help great local businesses close the loop with consumers.

Yelp, Camera, Action: Now Add Videos with Your Yelp Mobile App!

You may have caught wind that Yelp is introducing a feature that will allow users to add short videos that show off aspects like ambiance, lighting, noise level, and other features of local businesses not easily captured by photographs. Well, the wait is over...today that feature is available for Yelpers around the world!

User Video capture and playbackVideo capture and playback of Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, CA through the Yelp iPhone app.

Photos are a great way to add a visual element to your reviews, and Yelpers upload more than 23,000 of them from their mobile apps alone per day. We also know visuals are important to Yelpers since they spend 2.5 times longer on business pages with images than on those without. Now, using your iPhone (and soon Android) Yelp app, you can take short, 3-12 second videos of your favorite local businesses and better capture those details that photos alone can’t.

Worried your video skills are not up to par? We’re not looking for Ken Burns-level documentary filmmaking - it’s actually more helpful to see what a real-life consumer experience looks like without fancy editing or narration. These are not intended to be “video reviews,” but rather an extension of the visual experience. Sound trippy? Here’s what we mean:

These short videos are great for conveying the atmosphere of a business, which helps others anticipate their experience before stopping by. For instance, imagine scrolling through pics of delicious dishes at a new bistro but not really being able to tell if the ambiance is more “date night” or “family friendly.” Yelp video is here to help.

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Live music setting the scene for a night on the town at Tapas y Tapas in Cologne, Germany.

A video can also better convey a business’s space and size with a quick panoramic tour. Doesn’t the Ace Hotel in New York look roomy?

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Settling in to a suite at the Ace Hotel in New York, NY

It can also better highlight some of the unique elements of local businesses that make them truly special. Take Alinea in Chicago for example. You may have heard the famed restaurant features specialized molecular gastronomy fare, but did you realize dinner basically comes with a show, too? That table-side preparation is something else.

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Table-side dish preparation at Chicago’s Alinea.

Along with our millions of rich, local reviews, consumers increasingly rely on the Yelp community’s tips, business attributes, photos, and now videos to help them make better decisions on where to spend their money and which local businesses they want to support. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and put that video feature to good use!

July 24, 2014

Yelp Trends Answers the Age Old Question: Chicken or the Egg?

Since Yelp was founded in 2004, our passionate community has contributed over 57 million rich, local reviews. Now, as Yelp approaches the big 1-0, we’re giving you a peek into our decade’s worth of review content and the ability to unearth trends over time in cities around the world with Yelp Trends.

From food trends to popular slang to short-lived beauty fads (Brazilian blowout anyone?), Yelp Trends searches through words used in Yelp reviews to show you what’s hot and reveals the trend-setting cities that kicked it all off. Our massive wealth of data and the high quality reviews contributed by the Yelp community are what allow us to surface consumer trends and behavior based on ten years of experiences shared by locals around the world. For example, are San Franciscans still sipping PBR or craving craft beer? Is the CrossFit fad still going strong or losing steam? Are Londoners loving bob hairstyles or feeling more fringe (that’s bangs, for you Americans) these days? And every city has its favorite food trucks now, but where did this meals-on-wheels phenomenon first take off?

SF, craftbeer_microbrew_pbrSan Francisco is ditching PBR for craft beer these days

SEATTLE, crossfit_bikram_zumbaThe CrossFit craze is catching on in Seattle

LONDON, bob_hair extensions_fringeHair extensions peaked with Londoners in 2008, bobs were hottest in late 2009, and fringe saw a spike at the beginning of 2014

Compare searches by city to end the “who did it first” debate once and for all. Canada gets credit for creating the poutine craze, but which cities did it spread to first? It may not come as a shock that these gravy-soaked French fries peaked with New Yorkers in 2010, but Angelenos have just begun embracing the trendy menu item in the past couple years.

NY, poutine

LA, poutinePoutine was popular in NYC back in 2007 while LA is just starting to get hooked

With search capabilities in 98 cities throughout 20 countries around the world, there’s virtually no limit to the trends you can uncover. Students and academics can take their trend research a step further and get their hands dirty with Yelp data for their own projects and analysis using Yelp’s Phoenix Academic Dataset. Through the Yelp Dataset Challenge, students can even win $5,000 for creating projects that use our data in insightful, unique, and compelling ways.

From Adelaide to Zurich, use Yelp Trends to explore what Yelpers are loving right now, find out what trends are on the decline, and use Yelp data to discover the next big thing. Oh, and on that chicken and the egg question...I think this settles it once and for all.

SF, chicken and waffles_deviled eggsChicken and waffles took off in San Francisco about a year before deviled eggs started climbing the trend charts

July 15, 2014

Calling All Developers: Yelp’s Revamped API Site Now Open For Business

Yelp’s API, full of rich content about local businesses around the world, has been heavily integrated into some pretty cool projects, including Apple’s iOS and OS X, Yahoo Search, and the Pebble smartwatch. Now, we’re making Yelp data not only more accessible with an increased API call limit of 25,000 per day, but easier to use as well. Click over to the Yelp for Developers website and you’ll see a fresh revamp, complete with a snazzy new interface and clear step-by-step documentation with FAQ and code samples to get your wheels turning on the possibilities of working with Yelp’s API. More good news: Yelp’s open API is available for anyone who wants to develop on it, completely free of charge.

New Yelp Developers Site 7.14.14

Thousands of companies have used Yelp’s API to build local information into their products and services, giving consumers even more access to great Yelp content, like Yelp review snippets, photos, ratings and business listing information. Developers have turned to Yelp because of our trusted, high-quality local data, which, through an empirical study, is shown to be more reliable and consistent than other sources of local data.

Shobeir Shobeiri, Head of Business Development at Pebble says Yelp’s API is “easy to integrate,” with Pebble finding that “people love having access to Yelp businesses, ratings and reviews right on their wrist.” I mean, who wouldn’t want more Yelp in their life?!

Get started by clicking over to yelp.com/developers, where you’ll find more details and examples of innovative API use. Questions? Drop us a line at api@yelp.com.

July 07, 2014

Nielsen Survey Says...Consumers Rank Yelp Most Influential, Most Trustworthy, and with Highest Quality Reviews

Last year, we shared the findings of a Nielsen survey that showed consumers agree with something we’ve known all along: Yelp drives local purchases. The results of that survey were pretty impactful:

  • Virtually all Yelp users (98%) have made a purchase at a business they found on Yelp, with nearly 90% of them doing so within a week

  • 4 out of 5 Yelp users visit Yelp because they intend to buy a product or service

  • Yelp users search on Yelp for everything from restaurants to spas to hotels to locksmiths and everything in between

This year, Nielsen conducted a new survey, polling more than 1,000 US adults who use user reviews sites, and dug further to find the answer to a question business owners have been asking us for years: How does Yelp compare to other online review sites?

The answer: When compared to TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, and other local directories, people name Yelp as the review site most frequently used when searching for local businesses because they see it as the most influential, most trustworthy and with the highest quality reviews. People chose Yelp:

  • 4.5 times more often than Angie’s List and nearly 3 times more often than TripAdvisor as being the most influential review site when making final purchase decisions

  • Nearly 3 times more often than Angie’s List and nearly 1.5 times more often than TripAdvisor when ranking sites with the most trustworthy reviews

  • 2.5 times more often than Angie’s List when choosing which sites have the best quality reviews

When searching for restaurants specifically, Yelp is named as the most frequently used review site, cited by consumers nearly 3 times as often as OpenTable and almost 4 times as often as Zagat.

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In addition, 84% of consumers that responded to the survey named user reviews as the most important content on review sites, followed by average star rating at 77%, as well as map/location, business contact information, and business hours. As Yelp has been shown to have industry leading data quality in these areas, it’s understandable that the choice to use our site is an easy one for consumers. And the best part is, business owners can update that information in their Yelp Business Owner Account for free in just a few minutes.

So you don’t have to take our word for it. Consumers agree Yelp is the go-to source for the best info on local businesses.