Trying to find that “5-star” restaurant to enjoy your next meal or figuring out where to order your next pair of Nike’s can turn into the most painful investigation of your life. Do not fear. Hope is not lost! We always have Yelp to turn to in these times of crises!

Yelp is a crowd-sourced local business review and social networking site that is free to use by anyone and everyone. With pages upon pages of information on individual locations such as restaurants, schools, and all types of local businesses, Yelp assists its users in finding any business they happen to be looking for. You can even make restaurant reservations through Yelp!

History of Yelp

Yelp was founded by two former PayPal employees, Jerry Stoppelman and Russel Simmons, at a business incubator (MRL Ventures) in 2004. Yelp was initially created to be an email-based referral network but was sent in a different direction soon after. Jerry Stoppelman actually caught the flu and had a difficult time finding an online recommendation for a local doctor. Both founders used this painful experience to add to their idea and the Yelp you see today is the result.

Business Applications

What’s better (and potentially funnier) is that Yelp users can submit reviews on products, services, and businesses. So not only can users look for that restaurant or the shoe store, they can also tell their fellow “Yelpers” about their individual experiences. Reviews are often written in a very entertaining and creative manner, which gives others the chance to thumbs up useful, funny, or cool reviews they see.

There are TONS of advantages for businesses through this site like:

  • Being able to respond to and interact with customer reviews
  • Offering discounts and announcing sales directly to customers and communities
  • Placing advertisements
  • Potentially being discovered by new people (given you have a good rating)

Personally, I feel like this is an extremely useful and almost essential tool for any company looking to interact with customers to gain insight about their own business. Yelp continues to help connect people and businesses throughout the United States and is, in my opinion, one of the best tools out there for any business owner.

Sometimes businesses just need a little Yelp!