December 23, 2014

Kindness is Contagious: The Yelp Community Lends a Helping Hand in 2014

It's no secret that Yelpers are passionate about restaurants, boutiques, salons and all sorts of great local businesses, but you may not know that they also have a passion for philanthropy. This year, our North American Yelp communities spent a combined 8,141 hours volunteering, collected more than 2,000 pounds (that’s ONE TON, people!) of food, clothing and other goods, gave roughly 66,000 items to local nonprofits, and donated over $200,000 to charity.

Yelp Helps

Throughout the year, our Yelp Community Managers throw free events to bring Yelpers together offline and connect them with local businesses, including nonprofits. These events range from intimate parties of 10 or 20 Yelp community members to giant festivals with thousands of Yelpers and their guests. Nearly all of these events have a charitable component, whether it’s a suggested donation to a local nonprofit or the event itself being a gathering of Yelpers who’ve come together to donate their time and manpower for a good cause. These were some of our favorite community events in 2014:

  • Yelp Blanket Drive in Broward-Palm Beach, FL - This two-day blanket drive collected new and lightly-used blankets, which were donated to local organizations that distribute them to the homeless. This was Community Manager Blue A.’s second annual blanket drive.

  • Yelp Helps! 2014 in the San Francisco Bay Area - Yelpers around the Bay were encouraged to volunteer at a charity of their choice through GoVoluntr, a social platform bringing together volunteers and nonprofits. At the end of the month, participants celebrated their accomplishments at the Yelp Helps Prom.

  • Yelp Gives A Truck! in Ottawa, Ontario Canada - During a month-long celebration of Ottawa’s food truck scene, hosted by Community Manager Andrea B., Yelpers donated canned goods to the Ottawa Food Bank at participating food trucks.

  • Give Where You Live in Milwaukee, WI - This holiday campaign is all about bettering the community. Community Manager Rachel F. formed a partnership with Community Shares of Greater Milwaukee, whose online platform allowed Yelpers to donate to 50 different local nonprofits.

Yelp Helps Collage 2014Yelp Helps events drew crowds in Montreal, Detroit, and Hartford in 2014.

In addition to the outstanding nonprofit support from the Yelp community this year, the Yelp Foundation set a goal to give $1 million to charities in 2014. The Yelp Foundation, which was founded in 2011 to support charitable organizations and activities addressing the needs of local communities, makes grants to deserving nonprofits throughout the U.S. and encourages charitable giving by matching donations made to charities by Yelp employees.

As we celebrate the holiday season, we're so proud of all of our Yelp community members and employees who donated their time and resources to charity this year. We can't wait to see what they'll achieve in 2015. See you next year!

December 17, 2014

Yelp API Powers US Department of Transportation’s SaferRide App: Helping to Save Lives This Holiday Season

Yelp’s API has been used to bring value to a variety of innovative projects, and today we’re excited to announce a new way that Yelp data is helping locals. We are proud to have the Yelp API included in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new SaferRide app, which gives holiday revelers an easy way to find a ride home when they’ve had too much to drink instead of getting behind the wheel. The app encourages potential drunk drivers to stay off of the road by helping them contact a close friend, find their location, and connect directly to a taxi company to secure a safe ride. The taxicab information that the app uses will be generated by the Yelp API so users can have the best possible experience as they head home.

NHTSA App collage

Yelp has previously been used to help pinpoint potential sources of foodborne illness and make restaurant health scores more accessible, and this new API use shows there are so many more ways we can bring value to communities. We’re thrilled that the U.S. Department of Transportation trusts Yelp to help Americans get home safely this holiday season.

Drunk driving is never a good idea under any circumstance. If you do decide to drink, don’t get behind the wheel of a car. Instead, consider downloading NHTSA’s new SaferRide app, or turning to Yelp first to find a better way home.  

Stay safe and happy holidays! 

December 15, 2014

Our Gift to Business Owners: A Yelp App Just for You!

Businesses rely more and more on digital interactions to keep their finger on the pulse of their business. As one of the largest venues for consumer opinion, Yelp is excited to announce a new (and much more portable) way for business owners to connect with their customers.

As of today, business owners can download the new Yelp for Business Owners app for iOS or Android, designed to make it easier for business owners to engage with their customers and manage their Yelp reputation on the go. We’re excited to deliver a way for businesses to get real-time mobile notifications of new Yelp messages and reviews, and facilitate faster response times to consumers.

Biz App mobile screenshots collage

The new Yelp for Business Owners app for iOS

Since launching in June of 2014, consumers are now sending an average of 55,000 messages each month to businesses through our free Message the Business tool. With more than 64% percent of Yelp searches done on mobile and 73 million monthly unique visitors using Yelp via their mobile device as of Q3 2014, it’s clear there’s a demand to conduct these conversations on the go.

In addition to providing business owners with convenient, real-time push notifications of reviews and messages on Yelp, they can also use the app to:

    • View Yelp Business Page activity including the number of user views and customer leads they have generated over the past 30 days  
    • Respond to reviews by sending a private message or posting a public comment
    • Respond to customer inquiries from the Message the Business feature
    • View reports on ad clicks from Yelp users (advertisers only)


Business owners can download the app today from the iOS or Android app stores and will want to watch this video tutorial to get acquainted with all the features available on the Yelp for Business Owners mobile app:

The app is available in all 29 countries where Yelp has a presence, in all 16 languages. We’re excited to take this step in making Yelp more accessible and easy to use for business owners, and we plan to add additional features to the app in the near future.

December 11, 2014

Yelp Holiday Events 2014: From Singapore to São Paulo, We’ve Got You Covered!

Part of what makes Yelp so amazing is the strong sense of community that our users have, and their passion for connecting with both local businesses and one another, online and off. Our Yelp Community Managers work throughout the year to cultivate this community by hosting local events that bring Yelpers together with the coolest small businesses.  

This holiday season, Yelp is encouraging consumers to shop locally with the Yelp Shops Local Pledge, which encourages consumers to make a list, check it twice, and shop small whenever possible! It’s a two-for-one deal: boost the local economy and snap up the most unique gifts by shopping locally.  

Blog post image

Community Managers across the world are hosting Yelp Shops Local and holiday themed events across 29 countries and 5 continents to celebrate the season, from Salt Lake City to Singapore and everywhere in between. Some highlights are:

  • Indianapolis: Yelp’s Totally Bazaar - A holiday marketplace featuring more than 120 of Indy’s favorite local artisans and small businesses. CM Brittany S. hosts this annual gift treasure trove at the Indianapolis Public Library, complete with seasonal snacks and gift wrapping.

  • Salt Lake City: Toys For Tater Tots Drive - CM Jeffrey S. brings together locals for three nights of donating and the gift of tater tots. Bring an unwrapped toy to one of three local restaurants, and they'll give you a free order of tater tots! Yelp will also be there each night to give out swag and make it a holiday party you won’t forget.

  • San Francisco Bay Area: Hot for the Holidays - Sometimes the best holiday gift is some “me” time. Good thing our four Bay Area CMs are teaming up to help you take a break from shopping and get a jump start on New Year's resolutions by hosting a number of festive events together with a variety of local businesses - everything from working out to healthy eating and getting glam.

  • Frankfurt: Yelp Glühwein Club - Shopping, gift wrapping, and baked goods -- what could make the holidays any better? Mulled wine, of course! Join CM Celine W. for a taste of some mulled wine at the Frankfurt Christmas Market.

  • Prague: Lighted Prague Tour - CM Michaela P. leads a dazzling tour of Prague’s nighttime lighted landscape and encourages Yelpers to add to the display. She’ll supply lightsticks and props, turning this tour into a creative group photo trip.

  • São Paulo: Saravá Midsommar - Brazil is celebrating their summertime and the end of year solstice. It’s only fitting that CM Fernanda S. is hosting a Midsommar, or celebratory picnic, in Square Horacio Sabino where attendees wear white and celebrate the new year over food and drink!

  • Singapore: Ice Skating at JCube - Nothing says winter quite like pulling on some skates and hitting the ice. Join CM Michelle M. and glide the night away at the JCube Rink.

  • Melbourne: Yelp's Christmas Giving Mixer - This Yelp event takes the spirit of giving to the next level. CM Mel P. invites Yelpers to join her at local store Imajine, where all products give back to community projects with brands like TOMS, One Night Stand and Sister Works. Plus, local music and snacks! What’s not to love?

Yelp CMs have more than 100 local shopping and holiday events lined up this winter, so make sure to check out in your city and RSVP to get in on the action!

November 26, 2014

Yelp Hackathon 15: Sharks, Sock Puppets and Spectacular Projects

We recently held the 15th edition of Yelp Hackathon, a two-day event comprised of pure, unadulterated hacking, innovation, creativity, fun, and lots and lots of snacks. Close to 60 inventive projects came out of the event from engineers working in our offices in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Hamburg, and London. They ranged from cool data mining and visualizations, to useful product features, funny utilities, and some serious hardcore hacking. Yelp engineers worked through the night finding ways to speed up Yelp’s mobile app, creating a tool to explore cities by neighborhoods and keywords, crafting sock puppets for a Yelp commercial (not every project has to involve code!), and lots more. For all the technical details, click over to the Yelp Engineering blog.

Check out some pics from Hackathon below, and if this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, head over to to see all of our current product and engineering job openings. Hackathon 16 isn’t too far off!

Yelp Hackathon 15 shirt

Limited edition Yelp Hackathon 15.0 shirts

Sharks (1)

Yelp engineers hacking away, seemingly undeterred by the flock of floating RC sharks swarming their conference room.



Are they building a quadcopter to fight those sharks?


Jeremy hackathon 15 selfie

The Creative team at Yelp came up with a fun Yelp branding campaign complete with sock puppets and a “selfie station” for Hackathon 15. Yelp CEO Jeremy stopped by for a photo op.


Neighborhood map sf hackathon

A data visualization project for exploring neighborhoods shows “touristy” neighborhoods in San Francisco that also have fancy restaurants.


Science_fair hackathon

Our hackers showing off their projects in a science-fair style exhibition.

November 20, 2014

Yelp’s Top 20 Cities to Shop Local for the Holidays

With Small Business Saturday just around the corner, holiday shoppers are making their lists, checking them twice, and preparing to spend money at local businesses across the country.


Yelp recently conducted a survey with Nielsen which found that 8 in 10 Americans are likely to shop at local businesses this holiday season. But which cities in America are the best for finding great local gifts? We analyzed Yelp’s millions of reviews and business listings to determine the U.S. cities with the largest concentration of highly-rated, local businesses where holiday shoppers can find great gifts. Without further ado, here are the top 20 cities for local shopping lovers:


Yelp’s Top 20 Cities to Shop Local for the Holidays


1. Portland, ME

2. Lawrence, KS

3. St. Petersburg, FL

4. Asheville, NC

5. Santa Cruz, CA

6. Detroit, MI

7. Bend, OR

8. Chapel Hill, NC

9. Wilmington, NC

10. Hoboken, NJ

11. Minneapolis, MN

12. Portland, OR

13. Frederick, MD

14. Flagstaff, AZ

15. New Orleans, LA

16. Worcester, MA

17. Savannah, GA

18. Providence, RI

19. Seattle, WA

20. Baltimore, MD


Now that you know the best cities for local shopping, keep these tips in mind to find amazing local gifts that’ll make you the toast of the Secret Santa holiday swap.


1. Think outside the box.

In fact, think of something you can’t even put into a box! Yelp and Nielsen’s recent survey found that local shoppers are looking for experience-based gifts this year. Consider a gift certificate to a delicious local restaurant, a manicure or massage at a local spa, or even a free pass to attend a pottery or cooking class. A small gift, like a lotion from the spa, paired with a gift certificate makes a perfect set.

2. Rep your city.

What makes your city unique? Find a local brewery that bottles craft beer that’s super hot with locals in the know, or a dairy that produces to-die-for cheeses you can only find locally. Whether your recipient lives around the corner or is from out-of-town, they’ll appreciate a carefully selected, locally-made gift that gets them a ticket straight to the cool kids club!

3. Do your research.

Take a peek at what your friend or family member Tweets about, Yelps about, etc. Did they “like” the page of a local boutique? Have they written a review of a new coffee shop? This will give you an idea of their tastes for local businesses and will win you points for being the most observant gift giver around.

4. Find the best-of-the-best.

You only want the best for your loved ones, right? If you’re not sure what they may like, a safe bet is to look at the Best of Yelp list and choose a business that locals agree is tops, whether a restaurant you can buy a gift certificate for (something you can do right through the Yelp site and app!) or a boutique to bookmark for a shopping trip. Chances are your gift recipient has heard of this spot and will be impressed with your local knowledge.

5. Speak up.

Whether or not you have a gift in mind, when you’re in a store, ask the staff for guidance. They’ll be able to give you a rundown of their inventory, can point out all their locally made products, and might show you something you weren’t expecting that could turn into the perfect gift.

Happy holiday hunting and See You on Yelp!

November 18, 2014

Pipe Dreams: Frank’s Story

For today’s small businesses, online reviews can have a big impact on success. We recently heard about Frank (affectionately known by his customers and friends as “the Fizman”), a plumber in Downey, California who started off homeless and built a thriving business, thanks in part to online word of mouth. After years of struggling with poverty, he decided to pursue a future in the plumbing industry. Upon receiving his contractor’s license, he posted his business, Fiz Plumbing, to Yelp, and the rest is history.

Frank’s focus on honesty, authenticity, and great customer service resonated with our community of Yelpers, and the positive reviews came rolling in. His story goes to show how great small businesses can reap the benefits of online word of mouth and find success based on the value of their reputation, not just the size of their advertising budget. In fact, a Boston Consulting Group study found that small businesses saw an average of $8,000 in annual revenue from Yelp just by claiming their free Yelp business page.

Watch the video below to see Frank’s story. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and, if you live in the Los Angeles area, you’ll want to bookmark Fiz Plumbing for your next water pipe emergency.


November 17, 2014

Yelp Hosts 5th Annual Summit for Small Business Owners

We created the Yelp Small Business Advisory Council four years ago to get insight and guidance from our core community of local business owners. Beginning with only a handful of North American businesses, today the council represents a wide cross section of industries and geographies. This year, the group includes an ice cream maker from Munich, a salon owner from Melbourne, a food truck owner from LA and more. Last month, the council gathered at Yelp HQ for an action-packed, two-day summit and it was exciting to witness their enthusiasm.


Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 10.25.57 PM.png


During the summit, the council met with Yelp executives and engineers to discuss a wide range of topics from Yelp business owners. The main goal of the event was to kickstart new ideas for Yelp’s management team to consider and build on action items from years past. Check out the video recap below from our CEO Jeremy Stoppelman:


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



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 the new products and features we launch with the help of their feedback.

November 06, 2014

A Day in the Life of Monica S., Regional Lead (Latin America)

As a regional lead, Monica hires, trains, coaches, motivates, and manages a team of Yelp Community Managers in Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil. She first found her aptitude for leadership on the soccer field. A member of the U.S. women's national soccer team in high school, Monica was recruited to the University of Pennsylvania to play goalkeeper. From this position on the field she learned early how to stay calm under pressure, communicate clearly, see the bigger picture (as well as all the angles), and help instruct her team to be in the right place to make the play. We're lucky to have her skills on our side at Yelp!

If Monica’s role sounds like your dream job, check out to see our open positions and get your career started with Yelp.

Monica headshotMonica showing off her ping pong skills

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

Had someone asked me then whether I saw my future self living in Brazil and growing Yelp throughout Latin America, I would have laughed at the outrageousness of it. I joined Yelp as the Philadelphia Community Manager in May 2009 and at the time, I had the coolest job of all of my friends. I threw parties at some of the city’s best businesses and I got to support locals who were making a remarkable difference in the city. From Philly, I got to take on a market triple the size and became the East Bay Community Manager. It was there that I brought 4,000 Yelpers together at Yelp’s Sunset Showdown. In 2011, I got the opportunity move back to my hometown of Miami, FL to be the Community Manager and later Regional Lead for the Southeast US.

I love working at Yelp because 5 years later, I still feel like I have the coolest job ever. It’s given me the chance to reinvent myself while growing personally and professionally. Yelp does a great job at promoting from within and many of my fellow manager colleagues were once CMs like me. We share a bond that’s become really special over time. Today, as I manage a team, having the background of being a Community Manager is priceless. Yelp has changed my life and my goal is to help it change the lives of others.


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

My home office is in São Paulo, but my time is also spent between Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro, and some other cities in Mexico and Brazil. When I travel for work, I’m meeting with potential marketing partners, co-hosting a Yelp Happy Hour, or plugged in at a coffee shop collaborating with a trusty Community Manager or Yelp Ambassador. My job is to recruit, hire and coach CMs while figuring out the best way to grow our communities in Latin America. I like to think that I’m any given city’s second-best Yelper – after the CM, of course – and I also never shy away from lending a hand. Just last week, I bartended a Yelp event in Rio, and the week before, I was presenting at a conference in São Paulo.


What’s your advice for someone who might be interested in working at Yelp?

Write a great cover letter and be your best self. When I’m hiring for my own team, I’m looking for someone who has a voracious appetite for creativity, along with an unmatched work ethic. Someone who’s adaptive, who can think on their feet, who carries a good attitude, and has a hunger for more can go pretty far here.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Latin America? What are you up to when you’re not at work?

Latin America has been an unforgettable experience so far. When I’m not Yelping, I’m trying to discover as much of the region as I can. Since I live in Brazil, I’ve been checking out some breath-taking beaches – the types of places that make you reconsider giving up everything and selling coconut water from a cart. Trancoso is one of those spots. Needless to say, living here is “muito legal” (pronounced le-gau), which is the best way to say, “very nice.” I also made it to the top of the Andes and felt very proud of myself... until altitude sickness kicked in on the 5-mph bus ride down a jagged mountainside! Surfing is my newest endeavor - I just need to conquer my fear of sharks.


What are a few of your current favorite local businesses?

For the best pisco sour and ceviche outside of Peru, I make it a weekly meal at São Paulo’s Suri. The freshness there is unparalleled and the Argentine bartender, Fabio, always starts my pisco sour when he sees me come through the door. Now that’s service!

I’m also particularly obsessed with the freshly made waffle cones at my neighborhood ice creamery, Frida & Mina. I swear the scent that emits from their petite corner store puts the whole neighborhood in a good mood.

For gifts that keep my stateside friends and family feeling loved, I head to Sou Sou. This jewelry shop is in one of São Paulo’s hippest neighborhoods, Vila Madalena, and all the jewelery is made there. The store specializes in crystals and gems from Brazil and every time I go, I walk out with more than one thing. I love the rough cut minerals that hang from necklaces; it’s very dramatic and chic. Even better, their goods won’t break the bank.

November 04, 2014

8 in 10 Americans Are Likely to Shop Local This Holiday Season: How Business Owners Can Prepare

Ahh, the holidays. The season of indulgent meals, pumpkin spice everything, and gift giving has begun! Signs are pointing to shoppers already preparing to bust out those wallets and blow some dough on this year’s holiday haul.

Yelp commissioned Nielsen to field a consumer survey to find out where and when Americans are planning to spend money this holiday season, and what draws them to shop at local businesses. Good news for small business owners - a whopping eight in ten Americans are likely to shop at local businesses this holiday season. But wait, there’s more! Our data tells us that nearly half of these local shoppers plan to spend more than $100 at small businesses and 44% say they will start shopping before Thanksgiving. And it’s not just retail businesses getting in on the action: six in ten local shoppers are looking to buy experience-based gifts such as a restaurant gift certificate, massage, or theater tickets. Check out the infographic below for even more insights.

Now, with that insider info in mind, here are Yelp’s top five tips for business owners to maximize your exposure on Yelp and increase the chances a holiday shopper will choose to spend money at your business.

1. Claim your free Yelp Business Page. Start by going to Yelp for Business Owners at, if you haven’t already.

2. Update your business information. Confirm that your address and phone number are correct, add your business website, and don’t forget to update your hours for the holidays!

3. Add photos. Business owners can upload unlimited photos on Yelp and we know that consumers spend 2.5 times longer on Yelp Business Pages with photos.

4. Tell people about your business. Make your business relevant in more search results by adding content in the “From The Business” section to let customers know your specialties.

5. Create exciting promotions. Consider creating a Check-in Offer for your mobile audience, like one free hot chocolate, or a Yelp Deal to entice new customers to try your business for the first time, like a $25 for $50 voucher for any goods or services at your place of business. Finally, you can set up a Gift Certificate to be sold through your Yelp Business Page, which is perfect for your existing customers who want to share your goods or services with friends, family, and loved ones.