What is Yelp? ‘“ A Simple Review
Yelp is another example of a social networking website. However, it is not just your typical social networking website. Actually, it is a social networking site, user review and a local search website. Yelp has an increasing number of unique visitors. It approximately has 30 million monthly visitors.
Yelp was launched in October 2004 at the San Francisco market. Actually, Yelp was just one of the three projects of MRL Ventures, with which the other two are Adzaar and Slide. Yelp’s name was coined from the contraction of the Yellow Pages. Initially, the project was a team up of David Galbraith and Jeremy Stoppelman. The original plan was to create a website for an email recommendation service.
The key people who established Yelp were all former employees of PayPal. Stoppelman and Russel Simmons were both software engineers of the online payment service giant, PayPal. Another former employee of Paypal named Max Levchin made the early funding for Yelp amounting to $6 million possible. The fund came from venture capital firms Mission Street and Bessemer Venture Partners.
In 2006 to 2008, additional funds were given to Yelp, amounting to $11 million in total. Three big investors made the funding. Benchmark Capital and DAG Ventures invested $3 million each in 2006 and a private investor from Laguna Beach provided $5 million in 2008. From then on, Yelp had continued to expand until it surpassed page view count of its rival Citysearch. In terms of revenue, the company had earned nearly $30 million in 2009 and $50 million was the projected revenue for the year 2010.
As mentioned earlier, Yelp is a multipurpose website. It is a social networking, user review and local search website. It is like a 3-in-1 website. So what does Yelp offers its users?
Yelp as Social Network
To create an online community, Yelp mixed local reviews and social networking. The integration of social web functionality and user reviews enables visitors determine the most popular and reputable users of Yelp. It also enables visitors to see users who have the same interests as theirs. Yelp offers a reward system to encourage competition among reviewing site members.
The site also introduced offline events where the ‘elite’ members of the site gather at nightclubs, restaurants and bars. The requirements for these elite members to be eligible are to provide real names and addresses and must be of legal age to drink. Moreover, they should not own any local business to avoid biased reviews.
Yelp as Local Search
To help visitors find places or search the local areas, Yelp provided local search capabilities. Searching for a local bar or restaurant would be a breeze. The search results include business listings with a 5-point rating. Visitors can view site user ratings and details about the establishments.
Yelp’s content includes business listing from United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria and Netherlands. Business listings are organized and categorized in multi-tier system. The site also uses Google Maps to extend assistance to visitors in their business search.