Yelp

Yelp is a business review site in your local area where power is given to visitors to leave comments about an establishment that they've been to. It also operates an online reservation service called Yelp Reservations.

Yelp includes restaurants, shopping, beauty and fitness, arts, entertainment and events, home and local services, health, nightlife, travel and hotel, auto, and others categories.

Quick Facts

Summary

  • Ranked #176th worldwide
  • Active users 173 M
  • Type Review Networks
  • Launched date Oct 2004
  • Employees 3,900
  • Headquarters 140 New Montgomery, San Francisco, California, U.S.
  • Parent company None

Founders

person
Jeremy Stoppelman Virginia
person
Russel Simmons

Networks

  • Brand value In 2020 $2.9 B
  • Revenue in 2020 $872 M
  • Net loss In 2020 $19 M

Current Controversies

Current ControversiesFake Yelp reviews. (via chinabrands.com)

Yelp has a complicated relationship with small businesses. Criticism of Yelp continues to focus on the legitimacy of reviews, public statements of Yelp manipulating and blocking reviews to increase ad spending, as well as concerns regarding the privacy of reviewers.

The company's review system's reliability has also been affected by the submission of fake reviews by external users, such as false positive reviews submitted by a company to promote its own business or false-negative reviews submitted about competing businesses – a practice sometimes known as "astroturfing", which the company has tried to combat in various ways.

The Film

The FilmBillion Dollar Bully by prost films. (via virgilfilms.com)

Billion Dollar Bully is a documentary film about Yelp and its alleged business practices. The film is directed by Kaylie Milliken and produced by Prost Productions. The film was released on May 21, 2019.

Milliken said that she decided to take on the project when her doctor told her that she had begun seeing negative Yelp reviews for her practice that she was unable to reconcile with actual patient visits, and that she had become convinced that some of the reviews were fictitious when a complaint was posted describing symptoms she had never seen in her practice.

The Hollywood Reporter announced on Aug 12, 2015, that public relations specialist Michael Levine, would become the executive producer for Billion Dollar Bully. The film has an unspecified budget, and some backers were requesting that they remain unnamed.

An unnamed spokesperson for Yelp, commented to Business Insider, "The director has a conflict of interest, as she has a history of trying to mislead consumers on Yelp. There is no merit to the claims they appear to highlight, which have been repeatedly dismissed by courts of law, investigated by government regulators, including the FTC, and disproven by academic study."

Original Idea

original ideaoriginal idea

Two former PayPal employees, Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons founded Yelp at a business incubator, MRL Ventures, in 2004.

Stoppelman and Simmons conceived the initial idea for Yelp as an email-based referral network, after Stoppelman caught the flu and had a difficult time finding an online recommendation for a local doctor.

Max Levchin, the co-founders' former colleague as founding chief technology officer of PayPal and founder of MRL Ventures, provided $1M in Angel financing.

MRL co-founder David Galbraith, who instigated the local services project based on user reviews, came up with the name "Yelp". Stoppelman explained that they decided on "Yelp" for the company's name because "it was short, memorable, easy to spell, and was familiar with the help and yellow pages.

Brief History

2004
Jul Yelp was founded by Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons.
Oct Yelp.com launched.
2005

Yelp was redesigned.

Mar Yelp Elite Squad started in San Francisco.
May Raised $5M in funding from Bessemer Venture Partners.
Jun 12,000 active reviewers.
2006

12,000 active reviewers.

Jun 1M monthly visitors.
Nov Raised $10M in funding from Benchmark Capital.
2007

6M monthly visitors.

2008
Feb Raised $15M in funding from DAG Ventures.
Jul Yelp iPhone app launched.
2009

4.5M reviews.

Jan Yelp introduced a site for the United Kingdom.
Aug Yelp introduced a site for Canada.
Dec Google entered into negotiations with Yelp to acquire the company.
2010

Yelp's revenues were estimated to be $30M and it employed 300 people.

Launched several more sites, in Austria, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands.

We opened our 3rd Yelp office in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Jan Elevation Partners invested $100M.
Jun Yelp opens Scottsdale, AZ office.

The first non-English Yelp site was introduced in France.

Launching Yelp Reservations.

2011
Apr Yelp began a service called Yelp Deals.
Oct Yelp opens New York City office.
Nov Yelp Foundation is created with 1% of company equity to support local communities.

Having filed for an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

2012
Mar Yelp prices IPO at $15/share.
Sep Yelp's first site in Asia was introduced in Singapore.
Dec Yelp had a presence in 20 countries.
2013
Jul Acquired SeatMe, now known as Yelp Reservations, for around $12.7M in cash and stock.
Aug Yelp's old-is-new San Francisco headquarters.
2014
Jan Google was not subject to antitrust litigation from the FTC.
Apr Yelp was introduced in Japan.
Oct Yelp buys Restaurant-Kritik and French-based CityVox.
2015
Feb Was buying Eat24, for $134M.
Jun Yelp published a study alleging Google was altering search results to benefit its online services.
Dec A Public Services & Government section was introduced to Yelp.
2017
Feb Launched Yelp Questions and Answers.
Apr Acquired Wi-Fi marketing company Turnstyle Analytics for $20M.
Aug Sold Eat24 to Grubhub for $287.5M.
2018
Jan Yelp opens Washington D.C. office.
2019
May “Billion Dollar Bully” was released.
Aug Yelp launched a new personalized app experience.
Sep Yelp launched Yelp Connect.
Oct 200M review milestone.
2020
Apr Lay off 1,000 employees, furlough about 1,100 with benefits, reduce hours for others, cut executive pay by 20-30%, and stop paying the CEO.
May Launched a new Yelp for Business experience.
Jun Yelp helps businesses reopen safely with the new COVID-19 section.
Aug Launched Nearby Jobs and new hiring experience for services pros.

Network Features

The site has pages devoted to individual locations, such as restaurants or schools, where Yelp users can submit a review of their products or services using a one to five star rating scale.

Businesses can also update contact information, hours, and other basic listing information or add special deals. In addition to writing reviews, users can react to reviews, plan events, or discuss their personal lives.

User Profile

User profileYelp user profile. (via dribbble.com)

The user profile includes all user reviews, photos, as well as places, visited by the user's friends, and a list of favorite places.

Menus

MenusYelp menus. (via yelp.com)

A great extra feature to view today’s menu of a restaurant or a cafe.

Reviews and Ratings

Reviews and ratingsYelp reviews. (via yelp.com)

Writing and checking user reviews of venues, services, food, and overall experiences at places of visit. Also, star ratings from 1 to 5.

Photos

PhotosPhotos. (via yelp.com)

To view images of places or services, and leave images along with user reviews.

Location-based Search

Location-based SearchYelp location-based search. (via yelp.com)

Geolocation-based search allows users to find the nearest businesses and restaurants using the geolocation on their mobile devices.



Directions

Geo-location tool to navigate users towards places of interest, with information about the address, working hours, photos, etc.

Filter: The app's users should have the ability to filter search results by at least basic parameters like Price, Delivery, Offering a Deal, and Distance.

Newsfeed: Being a social media platform, Yelp has news feeds where users can check a chronological list of previous activities, news, and notifications.

Advanced Yelp features

However, to build a successful and multipurpose Yelp application, you need to implement Social sign-in, Reservation, Media files, Purchases, Messenger, Advanced filters.

Yelp Reputation System: The reputation system is the main competitive advantage of Yelp.

Yelp Reputation System: With its help, the app's users can receive a clear picture of businesses and services.

The Yelp Reservations API allows users to book reservations using Yelp via a third-party application. It enables functionality for Yelp Reservations search and native booking and provides endpoints for; Openings, Holds, Reservations, and more.

Yelp API allows users to retrieve information about businesses.

Features for businesses

Yelp added the ability for business owners to respond to reviews in 2008. A business owner can "claim" a profile, which allows them to respond to reviews and see traffic reports.

Businesses can also offer discounts to Yelp users that visit often using a Yelp "check-in" feature.

In 2014, Yelp released an app for business owners to respond to reviews and manage their profiles from a mobile device. Business owners can also flag a review to be removed if the review violates Yelp's content guidelines.

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