A reader was asking about Yelp, and how to succeed on the site recently. I had to check it out. Yelp is a social network for reviewing local businesses:
Yelp is meant for just about any sort of local service or destination. Our biggest categories today are restaurants, bars, salons and retail businesses, but you can also use Yelp to find reviews of everything, from doctors to tennis pros to parks and museums.
Here are 10 things Yelp would like you to know:
- Yelp was founded in 2004 to help people find great local businesses like dentists, hair stylists and mechanics
- As of August 2010, more than 38 million people visited Yelp in the past 30 days
- Yelpers have written over 12 million local reviews, over 85% of them rating a business 3 stars or higher
- In addition to reviews, you can use Yelp to find events, special offers, lists and to talk with other Yelpers
- Every business owner (or manager) can setup a free account to post offers, photos and message her customers
- Yelp makes money by selling ads to local businesses - you'll see these yellow, clearly labeled "Sponsored Results" around the site
- Paying advertisers can never change or re-order their reviews
- Yelp has an automated filter that suppresses a small portion of reviews - it targets those suspicious ones you see on other sites
- You can Yelp on your phone at http://m.yelp.com, or use Yelp for iPhone, Yelp for BlackBerry, Yelp for Palm Pre, and Yelp for Android
- The Weekly Yelp is available in 42 city editions to bring you the latest business openings & other happenings
Yelp is getting big. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Yelp is worth over $500M, and is projected to net a $57M profit this year.
So, how does a business do well on Yelp? For starters, customer complaints should be avoided. Frederick Web Promotions emphasizes that it is not useful to get into a Yelp "complaint" war with your competition. Instead, encourage your loyal customers, such as Facebook fans and newsletter recipients, to leave positive reviews on the site. The Entrepreneur blog has good info on How to Manage your Yelp Reviews.
Also, to keep updated, you might want to "like" Yelp on Facebook.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.