June 23, 2014

Yelp Turns Up the Heat with New App for Amazon Fire Phone

Last week, Amazon announced the release of their new Fire Phone. Yelp was one of a few mobile focused companies selected to partner with Amazon for the launch event. Yelp worked closely with the Amazon team to develop a new Yelp App specifically for the Amazon Fire OS that takes advantage of the unique gesture capabilities and features on the Fire Phone. Partnering with Amazon for this new device allowed us to design and build a new experience to help our users discover and connect with great local businesses. The new Yelp App will be available upon launch of the Amazon Fire Phone AppStore, with the device available for preorder now.

Amazon Fire Phone Yelp app collage 1

Amazon Fire Phone Yelp app collage 2

The new Yelp App for Fire Phone embraces the new capabilities of this innovative device. Some of the new features you’ll find inside the Yelp App for Fire Phone are:

  • Amazon’s Dynamic Perspective technology uses the device’s revolutionary four front-facing cameras to allow Yelpers to scroll through reviews and photos with one hand.

  • The Yelp app also takes advantage of the Fire Phone's One Handed Gesturing. Users can bring up the search box or the menu bar with a flick of the wrist. Slick, huh?

  • Finally, a quicker browsing experience via the Fire Phone’s home carousel. Amazon’s Carousel mode allows Yelpers to navigate quickly back to recently searched and visited business details pages via the home carousel.


In addition to building a brand new Yelp App for the Fire Phone, Yelp partnered with Amazon on their new innovative mapping application for the Fire Phone device. As you can see below, Yelp’s rich local review, photo, and rating content has been tightly integrated into the Amazon mapping service. When users are navigating their way through a new city, they can quickly search for a local business and use the integrated Yelp content to help them find that locally-loved Thai restaurant only a few blocks away.

Amazon Fire Phone maps featuring Yelp content. Photos via Amazon.

We are delighted to work with Amazon to make Yelp's rich local content easily accessible to users of Amazon's new Fire Phone, and we are thrilled to be providing the local layer of content for Amazon’s mapping service.

Check out the new Amazon Fire Phone and see the Yelp mapping integration here.

June 17, 2014

Hold the Phone! Now You Can Message Business Owners Directly Through Yelp

With more than 57 million local reviews contributed across 27 countries, there’s already a boatload of info people can gather through Yelp on any local business they’re thinking about trying. Not to mention helpful photos (and soon videos!) and attributes, like phone number, hours and Fido-friendliness. But we realize there are times when a very specific question might not be easily answered with a quick look at a business listing (and you don’t always feel like picking up the phone to inquire about). For instance, whether a restaurant will be serving a special pre-fixe menu for Mother’s Day or what a spa charges for a manzilian very specific treatment for males. So to ensure people never have to leave Yelp to find all the info their hearts desire, we’re adding the ability to message business owners directly from their Yelp listing.

Message the Business Owner 2

While some customers prefer to pick up the phone, others would much rather communicate via a keyboard, so this feature adds one more way to reach out to businesses, while giving business owners another opportunity to close the loop and receive even more leads. Biz owners will receive an email when they get a message from a consumer and can reply directly from that email without even having to log into their business owner’s account. When people click on the “message the business owner” button for a particular business, they’ll be shown the average response time to help them understand when, on average, they might get a response.


This feature is rolling out for all businesses who have claimed their free business owner’s account and is a great way to get new customer leads from Yelp. As Wade Lombard, founder of Square Cow Movers in Austin, TX puts it, “This feature is a conversation starter. Responding takes just a few minutes and it almost always leads to further correspondence or a phone conversation. We believe that responding quickly helps to show the client we deeply care about winning their business.“ Alternatively, if a business would prefer not to receive written inquiries from potential customers, they can simply disable the feature.

June 13, 2014

Nate Silver Analyzes Yelp Data to Launch Quest for America’s Best Burrito

When the name of renowned statistician, sports fan and burrito enthusiast Nate Silver popped up in our inbox a few months ago, we were all ears! His team had begun planning for a project based on his favorite Mexican indulgence - a bracket to determine the best burrito in America. The goal was to find the one burrito to rule them all, but the challenge was where to begin. With thousands of burrito joints in the U.S., the FiveThirtyEight team had to narrow the playing field down to a mere 64 burrito contenders to kick the contest off and turned to Yelp to help them take a by-the-numbers approach.

Yelp is the source people turn to for the richest data on local businesses of every persuasion, from doctors and dentists to pet groomers and nightclubs, and you can bet your bottom dollar Yelp will surface the best place to get a tasty burrito. Yelp Engineer Ben G. and I worked with FiveThirtyEight to identify attributes that would signal a possible burrito champion and then compiled a list of all the businesses in America that met that criteria, based on reviews contributed by locals countrywide. The FiveThirtyEight team then used their own considerable statistical acumen and the input of their expert selection committee to choose 64 top finalists, representing businesses from Florida to California and everywhere in between. For you data geeks, read the full breakdown of methodology on Nate’s inaugural Burrito Bracket post.

For the Burrito Bracket, the game is just beginning, with the restaurants broken out into four regions of 16 contestants each: California, West, South and Northeast. FiveThirtyEight’s official “Burrito Correspondent,” Anna Maria Barry-Jester, is currently traveling the states getting (probably more than) her fill of stuffed tortilla goodness to determine who Nate Silver’s team will crown the king of burritos at the end of this grueling competition. We know Yelpers have strong opinions about the best local businesses, so be sure to follow the competition on FiveThiryEight.com.

BurritoBracketElFarolitoA nom-worthy photo of the goods at California region #1 seed El Farolito. Photo by Jessica L.

Yelp’s wealth of data has revealed fascinating consumer and business trends through projects like the Yelp Wordmap and our recent Top 100 Places to Eat on Yelp list, and we’re thrilled to provide insight on local businesses for FiveThirtyEight’s Burrito Bracket. We also encourage students and academics to dig in to Yelp data for their own research projects and analysis using Yelp’s Phoenix Academic Dataset. As Nate Silver mentions, there’s still so much to be studied about how people interpret review ratings, how those ratings correlate with a single expert’s tastes, what factors might predict a five-star rating, and lots more. At Yelp, we'd love to learn more about these areas, and you can contribute through the Yelp Dataset Challenge. Students can even win $5,000 for creating projects that use our data in insightful, unique, and compelling ways.

All this burrito talk whetting your appetite? Follow Nate’s lead and tap the Yelp app to find a five-star burrito near you.

June 09, 2014

Yelp ShamROCKS Dublin with Opening of New European HQ

Yelp’s adding a brand new office to the mix and expanding its footprint in Ireland with the opening of a new office space in Dublin! This new office is one of three outside the U.S. (in addition to our London and Hamburg offices), and it’s been given a full Yelp makeover as we continue our European expansion with plans to bring over 100 new jobs to Dublin, including roles in sales, engineering and finance.

The Yelp vibes are strong in this new space, with lots of bright colors, modern design and open work areas primed for collaboration.


Dublin Yelp Office Collage


To help us celebrate the arrival of our new addition, Ireland’s Prime Minister, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, stopped by our San Francisco HQ to meet me and the Yelp team, see the city where it all began for Yelp, and share in the good news of our expansion and local job creation in Dublin.


Yelp has been live in Ireland since 2009 (with Community Manager Emily C. reppin’ Dublin!), and this bigger, better outpost is an exciting next step in continuing our European expansion. Interested in joining Yelp’s team in Dublin? Check out our careers page for current job openings and more to come at yelp.com/careers.

May 21, 2014

A Day in the Life of Danielle P., Account Manager in Phoenix, AZ

Today, we’re profiling Danielle P., an Account Manager in our Phoenix office. Before we get into the Q&A, let’s learn more about what makes Danielle a stellar Yelployee from her manager, Bethany H. Already envisioning a career at Yelp? Check out yelp.com/careers. We’re hiring!

As of this month, Danielle has been at Yelp for a year! She is, hands down, one of the most coachable Account Managers I have worked with and has the best attitude on the floor. Danielle’s persistence and commitment to excellence has helped her not just weather the storm of a tough day in AM land, but to conquer it with a big smile on her face. She is the definition of someone who plays well with others. I have received numerous pings from Sales Managers & Account Executives complimenting Danielle, pointing out her willingness to go above and beyond to always make sure we’re doing what’s best for Yelp and the client. Yes, she’s a top tier AM numbers-wise, and that’s a huge testament to her work ethic, but the mentality she brings to the table everyday is what sets her a part from the rest. This is someone you always want on your team! 

Danielle P., Account Manager

1. Why do you love being a part of the Yelp team?

Yes, the fully-stocked kitchens are uh-may-zing, department-wide catchphrase tournaments really do happen, and we don’t even blink an eye when our director zooms around the office on a scooter or a team busts out in a dance party, but what really sets Yelp apart is the people and the culture. We might all be super competitive and go-getters, but that never stops anyone from going above and beyond to help out a coworker. Bottom line: we work ridiculously hard, but we have a wicked-fun time in the process -- what more could you ask for?!

2. What is a typical day in the office like for you?

A typical morning starts between 7 and 7:15, and it ALWAYS begins with a big ol’ cup of joe from the kitchen. The beginning part of my morning is spent organizing and structuring my day: who I need to call, what tasks need to be completed, and what is the most efficient way to get them all done. Once my day is outlined, I hit the phones. Coming from a family that owns a small business, talking to business owners is my favorite part of the job! Throughout the day I do everything from address client questions and concerns to offer recommendations on how to optimize their program with Yelp. The way I see it, business owners are the experts in their field, and it’s my job to be the “Yelp expert” - their go-to person about all things Yelp.

Work hard, play hard. That’s our motto!

3. What’s your advice for someone who might be interested in the Account Manager role at Yelp?

The best advice I can give to someone interested in the Account Management role is to be flexible. No matter how organized or meticulous you are, hiccups always happen! The ability to be flexible, roll with the punches, and make the most of a tough situation is a hallmark of all of our top Account Managers. I’d also say being curious is a HUGE key to success in this position. We work with tons of business owners in industries that (at least initially) you may not know a ton about. Ask questions! Business owners are passionate about their work and L-O-V-E sharing. You will never know everything there is to know about an industry (the challenges they face, the terminology they use, the latest advancements) unless you take the time to inquire about it. So don’t be afraid to be curious and let them be the expert!

4. What’s your favorite thing about living in Phoenix? What are you up to when you’re not at work?

Okay, the fact that it’s sunny darn near 365 days a year is reason enough to love Phoenix. But on top of that, there is never a short supply of activities and events going on. Want to go hiking? Go ahead and tackle Camelback or the Superstition Mountains. Sports fanatic? Grab a couple friends and head to a spring training, football, basketball, or hockey game. Want a killer happy hour? Head on out to Old Town Scottsdale. Want to scout out some hip local artists or musicians? Make sure you head out to First Friday! Phoenix is definitely a diamond in the desert (see what I did there!), and an amazing place to call home.

5. What are a few of your current favorite local businesses?

If you love authentic Mexican food with a kick, do yourself a favor and stop in to Los Dos Molinos. This place offers some of the best food around and is tucked away on the side of the road (seriously, you will probably drive right by it, even when you’re looking for it). It’s the epitome of that hole-in-the-wall you probably never would have found without Yelp.

After a long week, there’s no better way to let off some steam than to laugh until your cheeks hurt at The Comedy Spot. This place is small, so you are ALWAYS close to the action and there really is no bad seat in the house. They always have great talent and I’ve never left there in anything short of a euphoric mood!

The Comedy Spot in Phoenix, AZ

While I consider myself well-versed in a lot of things, cars aren’t one them. The guys at Highline Auto Imports are honest, sincere, and friendly to boot. They will likely offer to make you a cup of coffee when you walk in or sit and chat with you while you wait for your car to be completed. On top of that, if they can’t complete the work themselves, or know of a place that can do it cheaper, they point you in the right direction. You won’t be disappointed.

May 14, 2014

Attempts to Mislead Consumers? Not On Our Watch!

We have just issued a new round of Consumer Alerts that let people know when we’ve caught a business trying to artificially inflate Yelp reviews. The reason so many people use Yelp is because of the lengths we go to showcase the most helpful and reliable consumer reviews among the millions that we receive. Our recommendation software routinely sifts through mountains of data to highlight the reviews that best reflect the opinions of the Yelp community. We also employ an investigative team to identify and expose people who are actively trying to mislead consumers.

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For example, some businesses try to bias reviews in their favor by incentivizing people to write positive reviews. Our team caught this appliance repair company offering to pay reviewers $15 per review via an ad on Craigslist.

This team also looks for businesses that have received a disproportionate number of spammy reviews, like those that originate from the same IP address. We found more than 245 dubious reviews for Las Vegas-based AAA Anytime Inc and 52 for Philadelphia’s Pets and the City.

So, what’s going on? Unfortunately some businesses are trying to sneak through fake reviews in an effort to boost their reputations on Yelp and other review sites. Others may be encouraging their customers to write reviews from the store, which may not sound all that bad until you ask yourself just how objective you’d be if you were at the dentist’s office and she dropped an iPad on your lap and asked you to write her a quick Yelp review. Solicited reviews are often biased and don’t result in the most accurate overall portrayal of that business. You can also be assured that businesses are almost never asking their unhappy customers for reviews.

We have zero tolerance for those who are trying to manipulate their online reputations in an effort to get ahead of hard-working business owners who are playing by the rules. We encourage businesses to take a hands off approach when it comes to receiving reviews and take advantage of the free suite of tools Yelp provides business owners who are interested in joining the converstaions that are happening about them online.

May 13, 2014

Yelp Reservations: New Free Tool for Businesses Gives Diners Even More Options When Booking Online

Posted by Alex Kvamme

Yelp is not just about discovering great local businesses, it also helps consumers transact with these businesses without ever leaving the site. For instance, someone looking for an amazing massage can book an appointment at a spa directly on the business’ Yelp listing and those in search of a hot new restaurant can book a table in just a few clicks.

Yelp acquired SeatMe last year in order to help more restaurant owners handle online reservations and front-of-house management, and today we’re excited to announce Yelp Reservations, a free tool that allows businesses in the restaurant and nightlife categories to start taking online reservations in minutes!

Business owners can set up the free Yelp Reservations capability through their Yelp Business Owners Account and start filling tables with the millions of people that come to Yelp looking for a great business to try. Consumers can book straight from the Yelp business listing on mobile or desktop and get a text message reminder, as well as the option to cancel or change a reservation by text. A free widget is also available for businesses to add to their own websites to encourage visitors to book a reservation for their restaurant and attract valuable new business.

Yelp Reservations

Yelp already offers the opportunity to book reservations through Yelp SeatMe and OpenTable, but Yelp Reservations is a great option for businesses that aren't big or busy enough yet to need the robust functionality of Yelp SeatMe.

As more restaurants take advantage of this new free tool, expect to see many more options when looking to make an online reservation on Yelp. As of today, this free reservation tool is available to businesses in the restaurant and nightlife categories in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland, and businesses like Quei Bravi Ragazzi in Encinitas, CA are already using the service.


Want To Be On Yelp’s Small Business Advisory Council?

Yelp’s features and services for small business owners have evolved quite a bit over the last four years thanks, in part, to the efforts of Yelp’s Small Business Advisory Council (YSBAC). Since 2010 we’ve regularly met with and solicited feedback from this diverse group of business owners who are selected to represent the greater community of local businesses on Yelp. In case you’re wondering what sort of impact the YSBAC has had over the years, here are a few 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
  • The “Activity Feed” was created to track when and how Yelp drives customers to businesses
  • More performance based advertising options have been rolled out


Now the time has come for us to put out the call for new members — all local business owners are welcome to apply! YSBAC members have an opportunity to:

  • Participate in an annual summit at Yelp HQ

  • Provide input on products under development

  • Brainstorm new ideas for Yelp executives to consider

  • Serve as a resource for other business owners who have questions about the services and tools on Yelp


We hope you're as excited about the next chapter of YSBAC as we are, and if you’re a business owner with ideas for how Yelp can better serve the business community, we hope you'll consider applying. You can submit your application by clicking here.

May 07, 2014

It’s Time to Tango… Yelp arrives in Argentina!

Es hora de bailar un Tango… Yelp llega a la Argentina!

Durante la Copa del Mundo México 1986, en Argentina se escuchaba fervientemente la voz de Víctor Hugo Morales mientras relataba el gol decisivo de Diego Maradona frente a Inglaterra en lo que sería conocido como “El gol del siglo”. La voz de los argentinos hizo eco del triunfo. Desde hoy, esa voz se vuelve aún más fuerte con el poder de Yelp y el boca en boca de los usuarios en cada rincón del país.

Esta nación de 40 millones de habitantes es un ejercicio de contrastes. Aunque sea la número 214 en densidad de personas, las extensión de sus tierras la hace la octava más grande del mundo. Su montaña Aconcagua es el punto más alto en los hemisferios sur y oeste. Y la Laguna del Carbon es el más bajo. Nada ejemplifica mejor a la Argentina que la rabona, ese maravilloso pase de baile que el tango ofrece, y un lujo futbolístico.

La comida Argentina es un regalo para los fanáticos de la carne. La gente local genera casi un ritual alrededor del asado. Una mezcla de carnes asadas tan amada que es casi un símbolo nacional. Otra tradición local es el mate, una infusión de hierbas con cafeína bebida con una bombilla metálica en un recipiente casero y compartido. (Tip, si te dicen “mirá que no es un micrófono eh”, es hora de pasarlo de manos). Para el postre tenemos el dulce de leche, una reducción de leche azucarada tan versátil que puede ser combinada con casi cualquier cosa.

Yelp está orgulloso de convertirse en una parte de Argentina. Nuestra habilidad para construir comunidades arranca en Buenos Aires. Si estás de shopping por Recoleta, bailando Tango en San Telmo o de recorrida nocturna por Palermo, los Argentinos ahora pueden usar Yelp para conectarse con sus locales favoritos del país.

Ingresen a Yelp.com.ar o bajen nuestra aplicación móvil para empezar a compartir la sabiduría. Los comercios también pueden ser parte de Yelp entrando a biz.yelp.com.ar y así reclamar su negocio como propio para armar su perfil de forma gratuita.

Yelp Argentina Badge Screenshot

It’s Time to Tango… Yelp arrives in Argentina!

During the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, the people of Argentina listened intently to their radios as the voice of Victor Hugo Morales related the events of the tense match against England. When Diego Maradona landed the game-winning Goal Of The Century, the nation raised its voice in triumph. Starting today that voice gets even louder, as Yelp brings the power of word-of-mouth to consumers across the country.

This nation of 40 million people is an exercise in contrasts. Though it is 214th by population density, its sprawling landmass makes it the eighth largest country in the world. Their mountain Aconcagua is the highest point in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres, and the Laguna del Carbon the lowest. Argentina is maybe best exemplified by the rabona: a piece of fancy footwork you can find in the tango — and on a football pitch!

Argentinian food is a treat for carnivores since the locals are almost ritualistic in their consumption of asado: barbecue so beloved it has been exalted to a national symbol by decree. Another Argentinian tradition is mate, a caffeine-rich infusion sipped with a metal straw from a communal gourd (pro-tip: if you are warned, "no es un micrófono," it’s time to pass it on). For dessert, it’s dulce de leche, a sweetened milk reduction you can (and should) drizzle on just about anything.

Yelp is excited to be a part of Argentina, with our community building efforts beginning in Buenos Aires. Whether shopping in Recoleta, tangoing in San Telmo, or bar-hopping in Palermo, Argentinians will now be able to use Yelp to connect with their favorite businesses across the country.

Log on to Yelp.com.ar or download Yelp’s mobile app to start spreading the wisdom. Businesses can get in on the action too at biz.yelp.com.ar by claiming their page for free and building out their profile.

May 06, 2014

Success With Online Reviews Tour = Great Success!

Yelp and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) hit the road back in January to educate small business owners across America on what it takes to have success in a world where more consumers are using online reviews to make purchasing decisions.


We concluded our Success With Online Reviews tour last week in Miami, where we were joined by partners from the Small Business Development Center, the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, and 880 AM the Biz radio host, Pete De La Torre, who broadcasted live from the event. Our panelists included Vic Ruiz, owner of Sweet Dogs, the highest rated hot dog joint on Yelp in Miami, and Julio F. of the Miami Yelp Elite squad. Vic told the audience he built his online reputation by focusing on solid customer service and a great product. As he puts it, “I don’t ask for reviews, I let my food speak for itself.” Julio (who has written over 200 reviews) says he’s motivated to write reviews for the same reason many other Yelpers get involved on our site -- a desire to share his experiences with the community in the hopes it helps them find great local businesses.

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From Portland, OR to Atlanta, GA, the Success With Online Reviews tour hit seven major cities and featured two nationally webcasted events. Several thousand small businesses registered for these workshops and attendees walked away with some valuable insights.

Want to learn more but didn’t get a chance to join one of these events? Don’t worry, there are still plenty of opportunities for small business owners to learn valuable online marketing tips. Yelp hosts free webinars every other week which businesses can register for here. Meanwhile, the U.S. Small Business Administration just announced the schedule of events for National Small Business Week which will be held May 12-16, 2014. For future updates on the Success With Online Reviews initiative, be sure to check out www.sba.gov/onlinereviews.