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05. 10. 2007

Yelp.com - real people. real reviews

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Local city sites are increasingly popular, but sometimes you have to wonder how much of it is paid advertising, you know? Not with Yelp. It's all user generated reviews by locals passionate about their discoveries, from restaurants to their favorite park.

"I love this place. Fried pork. Fried Kim Chee, Fried Kong Na Mul. Fried Rice. Wash it down with some soju. Ah~ I'm in heaven." (Actual review of restaurant, Wako Honey Pig in L.A.)

Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder and CEO of Yelp, explained that originally the site took a very different approach, more of an e-mail advice site as to where to find a good doctor or a great Korean restaurant. Let him tell it:

Unfortunately the email functionality felt spammy to most users, but we noticed that for some reason, our "write a review" feature buried deep in the site started to get a lot of attention. We went back to the drawing board, took a look at who was doing the review writing (women tend to be early adopters of Yelp) and redesigned the site with the female reviewer/writer in mind. We changed the color scheme to make it more eye catching and focused on creating something that was simply fun to use. Today, our audience is split almost 50/50 women and men. But we still find that women tend to be our first users in new cities.
Now Yelp has just released their first ever Yelp Zeitgeist. The Zeitgeist is a monthly local trend report, put together based on current Yelp business reviews in its major cities (including San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Seattle). For example, this month's weighty theme in LA is where to find the best hamburger. I started playing around with it and you can get totally caught up in the quirky, fun reviews. And of course, you want to check out that you have your town wired and know all the cool spots. (I do, thank you very much.) I wouldn't use it yet as a resoruce for say, a dentist, but certainly a vistor to LA would appreciate the "Local Flavor" section.

In this Youtube world, this is bound to be a huge hit.

Check out your city at Yelp. I YELP L.A.

Posted by Evan    Category: on the web
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Comments (3)

affidavid:

sadly, the reviews left in the boston yelp leave much to be desired. in seeking out authentic mexican restaurants in the area there are high praise reviews for chain burrito stores whose only hint of authenticity is that they hire hispanic workers. across the board, from restaurants to dentists to electronics the amount of local praise for truly mediocre goods and services is just too easy to ignore.

Emmy:

This is wonderful. I live in Munich, Germany and we have a city site called Toytownmunich which provides the same type of service. I always like to get the opinion of locals and hope this Yelp continues to grow to include european cities.

just visiting:

another good site is Chowhound.com which predates Yelp by several years, I think.

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