Yelp’s Check-in Offers Make Much More Sense Than Foursquare’s
Local search and business review service Yelp entered the location-based check-in game nearly a year ago, following in the footsteps of other services like Foursquare and Gowalla. Over the summer, the company added badges and mayor-like features and we wrote that the move clearly placed Yelp “in direct competition with the likes of Foursquare.”
Google Places Updates Review Section, Yelp is Back
Google just announced an update of the reviews section of Google Places, which essentially separates reviews from sites like Yelp, Zagat, Citygrid and others into separate category, called “Reviews From Around The Web.” Places used to just list outside reviews under a “Reviews” section. Now you can click on the Yelp review and be taken to the review on the Yelp page for the establishment.
Profile: Yelp is a local consumer reviews website and mobile application that allows consumers to write and share reviews of local businesses. The value for consumers comes through the ability to discover new local businesses based on the opinions of fellow customers. Additionally, Yelp gives consumers a real sense of empowerment by providing an open forum to share their positive or negative customer experiences. The Yelp mobile application features social check-in capabilities similar to Foursquare and Gowalla. While the act of checking-in via Foursquare and Gowalla represents a relatively weak form of location engagement, Yelp by its very nature encourages consumers to engage locations at a deeper level by posting reviews and photos of their experiences. Writing reviews is an integral part of the user experience on Yelp, making it a powerful tool for monitoring consumer sentiment and engaging customers.
Promotional Mechanisms: The deep location engagement of Yelp provides businesses with direct insight into the individual customer experience. Consumers who have already taken the time and effort to write a review or post a photo illustrate an existing emotional engagement (either positive or negative) that companies can act on directly. Negative reviews allow businesses to refine their operations or make amends directly with customers. Positive reviews allow businesses to recognize what is working and act to build a business’s credibility within the community, ultimately driving more traffic to a location.
To directly engage with and monitor consumer activity on Yelp local businesses must first “unlock” their location’s profile for free through Yelp’s website. This process grants business owners or managers access to detailed analytics on page views and reviews for their location. Once unlocked, a business can post announcements, location news, and promotions directly onto their profile. They also can respond directly to user reviews. Businesses can pay to advertise on Yelp. These advertisements show up as highlighted sponsored results at the top of user queries.
Yelp is most valuable and relevant for small businesses—as opposed to large chains or franchises—because they more readily lend themselves to reviews of one-of-a-kind services or locations.
Number of Users: 3 million active mobile users per month (February, 2011), 33 million web visitors per month (July, 2010)
Availability: United States, United Kingdom
Mobile Platforms: iPhone, Android, Palm, Blackberry, Mobile Web
Author: Derek Browers