I always like trying new places to eat out. But the risk associated with picking something new and out of town for a party of 8 makes for some nail biting. So often I used to call or email friends (like minded foodies) for suggestions and reviews. Now of course we all get on Facebook and Yelp to send a ping out in our own circle of advisors. Funny thing about Facebook is that it still to me is too closed of a personal network to find something fresh. Why would I ask same circle of friends on Facebook who actually asked me to pick a new spot? This is what I really treasure Yelp for. Sure you aren’t likely to agree with everyone on Yelp but to me the law of large #s applies. In this case we found a wonderful place called Solbar at the Solage Resort – and a great evening was had by all.
Do you find Yelp helpful? How much do you use it personally for decisions now? Are you helping all your favorite businesses get active on Yelp.com?
Clearly there are still issues with people who flame their competition behind the cloak of single reviews/profile and other less than admirable tricks. I believe Yelp is trying to clean up their processes to both eliminate overt favoritism of paid advertisers as well as allowing business owners to manage negative feedback in a reasonable manner (just as they would on a blog). I also think Yelp probably needs to stay as independent a business as possible to reduce the temptation for engineering favorites.
As a marketing and sales consultant for small businesses I can’t think of any reason why a legitimate business wouldn’t want to be on Yelp and actively seeking their customers to comment (for better or worse) on Yelp. & yet I continue to find local businesses who aren’t set up on Yelp.
Sure it must seem like a treadmill sometimes if you are a restaurant and are tracking reviews and feedback on Yelp, Open Table, Google Places, Facebook Wall etc. We suggest our clients be proactive in owning their profiles and feedback with a clear process on who and how often reads the reviews and responds to feedback. One of our clients has an older clientele and wasn’t convinced the time and attention to online profiles would reach their existing clients. Fair criticism. What they found is that with a little bit of work to start a conversation online, all of a sudden they were reaching new potential clients who were attracted by the online presence. Not rocket science, but a good illustration of why some smaller local businesses are unsure why they should set up profiles and what the benefit will be from investing time in them.
Do you use the features in Yelp to reduce the reviewers you follow to ones you select? Do you read the other reviews of completely new services and companies of the reviewers you enjoy the most? I’m curious how much of these features are actually in use versus the original “cloud sourcing” approach to feedback.
Feel free to comment on your experiences with Yelp.
P.S. The best cocktail at Solbar (see left photo) was something called Sex In The Valley.