July 28, 2014

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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 10.46.43 AM

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.