Yelp

Yelp? Yep. Yelp.

Investments
What’s great, what’s not true, and what you didn’t know about Yelp.

When Trish Sanderson moved from the Pacific Northwest to San Diego, California, she used Yelp to help immerse herself into life in her new town.

“I really wanted to explore my neighborhood and make this new place truly home,” she says.

She used Yelp to locate services from dry cleaning to doctors, and to seek out the local bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues that would help jumpstart her social life. With the app on her phone, she was able to get phone numbers and directions, too, which helped her find her way around town.

“Yelp can make you feel like a local in a matter of weeks when you move,” she says.

Today, as the Yelp community manager in North County San Diego, Trish sat down with us to debunk a couple of popular myths about Yelp and fill us in on why the site makes sense as a go-to for homeowners seeking contractors.

Girls’ Guide to Real Estate: Give us three things most people don’t know (or understand) about Yelp.

Trish Sanders:

1. Not only can you browse and discover great local businesses on Yelp, you can take the experience a step further by transacting directly on the site. Thanks to Yelp Platform, consumers can order food delivery, schedule spa appointments, book hotel rooms, and more – directly on the site and app!

2. Yelp does not recommend every review from every user. We have automated recommendation software in place to go through the millions of reviews that have been submitted to the site and detect the most useful and reliable content. Unlike many other sites, our stance is quality over quantity when it comes to reviews. As a result, we only recommend about 75% of the reviews that are submitted. More often than not, these reviews come from active members of the Yelp community.

3. Yelp is an international company with a presence across 29 countries, which makes it a great tool for travelers! So when you find yourself in unfamiliar territory, whip out your handy Yelp app to help you live like a local. Yelp can also translate reviews directly on your mobile device so you can discover recommendations straight from the local experts themselves, no matter what language they speak.

GG: Please debunk the two most popular myths about Yelp.

TS: One major misconception about Yelp is that it’s just a place where people go to rant and complain. Turns out, most consumers turn to Yelp to share their overall positive experiences. In fact, about 80% of the 67 million reviews on Yelp are 3 stars or higher.

Another popular myth is that Yelp is just a restaurant review site. A lot of folks are often surprised to hear that restaurants aren’t even our highest category of reviewed businesses! The largest category of reviewed businesses is actually shopping at 23%, while 20% of reviewed businesses on Yelp are restaurants.

GG: Do you have any statistics on how buyers, sellers, or renters are using the site?

TS: We don’t have that kind of information specifically, but we do have a breakdown of reviewed businesses by category over on http://yelp.com/factsheet. This shows that 11% of reviewed businesses are in the “Home and Local Services” category.

GG: Give us three reasons why you consider Yelp the place to go when seeking contractors.

TS: 

1. Trust – Yelp goes to great lengths to ensure that consumers can rely on our content. Our recommendation software is our first line of defense, which recommends about 75% of all reviews submitted to Yelp and attempts to weed out fake, shill, or malicious reviews. Yelp also has a program called Consumer Alerts that notifies consumers when we’ve found a business to be guilty of offering discounts or money in exchange for reviews.

2. Rich Review Content – Since inception, about 67 million rich local reviews have been posted to the site. These reviewers are locals who are passionate about small businesses. Yelp’s rich, quality review content is what differentiates us from other competitors, and our software has helped to ensure that we are recommending the highest quality content.

3. Updated Directory Information – Yelp houses a wide range of up-to-date information about businesses that is helpful to consumers looking to find a place to spend their money. Yelp Business Pages contain information like hours, location, service area, business specialties, user-submitted photos, and more. Both users and business owners have the ability to update this information, which is then approved by our moderators. Consumers can also directly message business owners through Yelp.

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