Maybe you’ve heard someone talking about Yelp, and you understood that it was probably something on the Internet. It’s not a dog’s short, excited bark, but a website where consumers can review products or services they’ve used.
Years ago, we used to rely on our friends and neighbors to give us the low-down on new restaurants or to tell us whether the mechanic down the block could work on our 1985 Mercedes. Now, of course, we have Yelp, where hundreds of our friends are willing, ready, and able to share their experience and opinion on any number of subjects. Using Yelp, a person can find a new doctor, restaurant, moving company, or almost anything you can think of. You can use the reviews to navigate your new city, or just the one you find yourself in for the weekend.
Yelp users are all registered members of the site. Just like any other social media site, a user must fill out a profile in order to use it. This lends a degree of accountability to the site. It’s possible to see what other reviews the person has written so that you can compare them against your experience, as well as to see how their opinions stack up against other users.
Once signed up, a user can fill out all the specific details on a business. If they don’t take credit cards, this can be noted. You can provide an average price range, which is helpful for restaurants and hospitality services. Then, you can fill out a full review, including details such as the polite waiter or the way your new mechanic pointed out a potentially large problem and then helped you prevent it with a relatively inexpensive part.
Businesses have their own accounts on Yelp, too. This enables a business to communicate with its customers directly. If a person has a strong review for them, the owner can respond to thank the customer, or to provide an explanation for why a mistake was made. This open, public conversation can help other users assess the business as well as a negative review. Positive and negative reviews are sometimes overblown and may not be entirely realistic, so an open dialogue and multiple reviews help Yelp users determine how they should proceed regarding that particular business.
In fact, Yelp allows businesses to offer special ?Yelp Deals? to consumers. A consumer can purchase a deal from Yelp and then redeem it at that business. Additionally, businesses can place regular advertisements which are then matched to your particular searches on the site. Gift certificates are also available to consumers.
With the internet, we can now share so much information with so many people. When sites like Yelp offer consumers a forum to trade experiences and opinions, everyone benefits.