Yelp!

May 2, 2008

I like Yelp more than I like myspace. Maybe even more than facebook. Why? Because Yelp has more of an impact on my daily life – in fact, it’s based around my daily life (and that of others in my metropolitan area.)

The idea is simple: you review the good, the bad, and the decidedly mediocre of what your town has to offer. Got an amazing haircut? Yelp about it. Need to know where to take your date for dinner? Check Yelp and see which restaurants have high reviews, look at their price range, read descriptions of the service and ambiance–in short Yelp will help you get to know your city and get to know the places you’ve been wanting to go but perhaps hadn’t yet found on your own.

But it’s not just about the knowledge! Like any good social networking site, Yelp brings its members together. You’re constantly encouraged to write more by compliments left by other users. Adding pictures to your profile will bring you closer to “elite” status (read on), and your reviews are reviewed (ooh, meta!) and awarded points by other members based on how cool, funny, or useful they are. If enough members think your review is relevant, you might be featured on the home page as the review of the day – and then the adulations will pour in. (Having recently been the ROTD myself, I must say – it’s actually quite thrilling!)

What’s even better is that Yelp constantly brings its communities together in real life, too. I’ve attended many an Unofficial Yelp Event – generally a happy hour gathering arranged by fellow yelpers, ordinary users with day jobs like me. Even better are the VIP events for “elite” members (my roommate is a member of the Elite squad) where entire restaurants are reserved and many freebies are given away–everything from henna tattoos to hoodies.

Knowing that Yelp exists, I don’t think I’ll ever be afraid to move somewhere new. I can just look up the metro and see what the locals are up to – I can always find a cool new place to visit, and even if I have a bad time, it’ll make for an interesting review.

You can find me at http://emilyp.yelp.com

ETA (10/9/2008): This post was written when I was new to Yelp and reflects my views as a novice yelper. I have since been awarded Elite status and have worked with Philadelphia’s Community Manager, Carrie Estok, to promote Yelp in that region. This post was meant to express the impressions I had of Yelp at that time, and is not meant to be used as a resource outlining how Yelp actually works.

I have received (and subsequently deleted) several comments from dissatisfied business owners; I urge these persons to discuss their concerns with their local Yelp Community Manager, rather than airing them in the comments section of this blog.