Life reviewed with

  • November 26th, 2006

I love YelpPersonal accounts of experiences, rants, or raves are often deciding factors prior to stepping foot into a dining / retail establishment or completing a business transaction. Not surprising considering the fact that as humans, we all appreciate certain levels of service and are often turned-off by anything less.

Why go through the hassle or apprehension of experiencing a new “hot” spot in town for the first-time when others may have already done so? The current state of the web is of a social & sharing nature; an internet comprised of users willing to share their feelings in hopes of persuading or dissuading you for or from a stellar or lackluster experience. Isn’t it time you saved yourself from experiencing less than stellar service?

Above and beyond stagnant censored reviews

We’ve all shared similar experiences at local restaurants, bars, retail stores, or the corner coffee shop. That elated feeling due in part to an excellent wait staff & meal, or that disgusted feeling from less than cordial service. We all contain within us an innate quality to share our experiences with others. Uncensored and unabated, serves as a social platform for sharing our personal experiences in a way unrivaled by any other service.

Prior to discovering Yelp, I knew of nowhere other than CitySearch or CityGuide to turn to for local reviews. A pity considering that the Yelp service was co-founded by Jeremy Stoppelman & Russel Simmons back in 2004 (about Yelp).

Yelp puts the power of real customer reviews back into the hands of users in an open environment featuring user moderation, voting, recommending, discussions, private messaging, and city focused forums where real locals mingle and organize social events. The simplicity of Craigslist mashed together with the Yahoo & Google API, photo sharing, and oftentimes brutally honest or witty reviews previously reserved for personal blogs.

Reviews are meant to be shared… and read

Yelp offers users an incredible array of features geared towards the social aspect of user generated reviews. It is incredibly easy to share reviews with others thanks to the convenient “Send to friend” option available with any Yelp review. Additionally, Yelp allows users to create specialized lists based on personal recommendations. Take for example Michelle’s thorough list of reviewed Wifi hotspots in the greater Seattle area.

Furthermore, Yelp also offers interactive maps [Blog Bling] generated off of submitted reviews. Additionally, these maps (as seen to the left), can feature venues from the aforementioned custom lists allowing members to share specific content with contacts through their blogs, MySpace, or Xanga pages.

Local users in your area

With the widespread use of Yelp, chances are that users are already actively reviewing and mingling in your locality. At current, Yelp offers review directories for major cities including Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, and New York among others. Point your browser towards Yelp and register your free account or take the tour. I can almost guarantee that once a few reviews are read, your desire to voice your own opinion will undoubtedly present itself. How can you resist with checking out a service which offers “Make me Yelp” underwear?

Full disclosure – Yelp Elite

For the record, no monetary compensation was received in exchange for this Yelp “review”. I would gladly point out that the service offers a realistic perspective of local venues based off of reviews from real people.

Blowing bubbles at a recent Yelp Elite party

To view more images from a recent Yelp Elite party in Seattle, feel free to check out the Seattle Yelp Elite Squad set on Flickr. You see, Yelpers stumble around like anyone else would after too many Yelp Cosmos.