Emerging Tech

Will Yelp achieve verb status like Google has?


Virtually all Web content these days has some way for the users to write their own take. Newspaper sites have a comments section at the bottom of every news story; big sites like Citysearch have ratings for restaurants, movies, or entertainment venues; and comments are a centerpiece of MySpace and other social networking sites.

A newcomer called Yelp is making headway in this area by giving users a way to review their favorite restaurants, shopping centers, and even religious organizations. Small businesses like Splitends, a hair salon in San Francisco, are finding that Yelp drives more business than some traditional marketing methods, supporting the old adage that the best form of advertising is word-of-mouth.

Business paradigm shifts and free tequila shots (CNN)

Restaurants are used to critics, with restaurant reviewers having their own newspaper columns in most major cities, but the new breed of critic is a different animal, unknown to the restaurant owners and possibly could be anyone who walks in the door. The newest generation of amateur critics is also more forgiving than their more traditional brethren, with one site claiming that positive online reviews outnumber negative ones by a two to one margin. Yelp does not limit its users to what exactly they review, so many of the negative reviews are about a small piece of the experience, like a surly waiter, and business owners are paying attention, with one admitting that he has fired wait staff for consistently bad reviews.

For latest reviews, chefs look online (BusinessWeek)

Reviewers Twice as Likely to Write Positive Reviews over Negative (Technology Evangelist)

Small reviews site packs a loud Yelp (CNET News.com)

I have been reviewing various things online since the mid-90s, from eBay buyers and sellers to public opinion pieces in the newspaper. As mentioned before, nearly every site out there has some kind of user comment section or forums for members to discuss their common interests. However, Yelp seems to have reached into this niche to deliver content that is valuable to a great many people. The big question is: Does Yelp has what it takes to become a verb (as Google has for Internet searches), or is it destined to become yet another in the long list of fad sites? (Check out what TechRepublic blogger John McKee says about this topic in his post, Yelping yet?.) Do you think that Yelp has what it takes for longevity?

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9 comments
Richard.Mlodoch
Richard.Mlodoch

Yelp already IS a verb. It is a noun as well.

boony
boony

I would hate to see a site devoted to whiny, spoiled consumers incorporated into a language already besieged with Web verbs and "leetspeak".

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

Yelp has exploded a niche that seems ripe for the picking, but those kinds of niches are fleeting and sometimes end up as a fad instead of a movement. Do you think that Yelp has what it takes for longevity or will they be yet another flash in the Internet pan?

mattohare
mattohare

techrepublicking it to find out.

luciphercolors
luciphercolors

Does anybody talking about this in all seriousness realize how much of a moron they sound like? I mean, seriously, this is rediculous. Yelping. When I hear the word I picture a doomed dog with his leg stuck in the traintracks with the 3 o'clock southbound fast approaching. It sounds like someone in the marketing department said, "hey guys, let's come up with a word to describe this new product we're cooking up!" The programmers writing the product bow their head in shame, suffering yet another humiliating blow to their job description--but they play along anyway for fear of their jobs. Everyone do yourselves a favor, ditch this ridiculous term before yet another stupid word takes over the internet. Wow, a community Web 2.0 site with a stupid, flashy name. GET IN LINE

mhbowman
mhbowman

that too many dot comers have already learned the hard way. You have to have a good business model, and be innovative to win at this game. Running after big companies that have already made it, like Microsoft, for table scraps doesn't cut it. In the event that you actually do have a great idea, it WILL be taken, unless you have the ability to make it a reality on your own, and fend off the pirates in the process.

seng04
seng04

Commercial identities replacing our vocabulary. It's now getting to the point that I can almost communicate completely through commercial branding. "Hey Joe, I'm going to StumbleUpon Google for BlogSpots that Digg up some del.icio.us Linkrolls with a large ISEdb Scoop of Gravee. "I Digg it! Lets Tellfriends and RecommendzIt to Mr. Wong. Where Diigo?" "You go ahead. I'm going to Looklater, I've got to MeetUp with Ma.gnolia now." *sigh*

seng04
seng04

Hostile takeovers, folks. You think a useful service is going to escape being "Googlitized"? Besides, yelping is for dogs.

zd
zd

Presumaby this is a press release. There are lots of existing review services, none of which have been verbized. Good luck to them. I hope they remember that the publisher is culpable for any libellous content and that they have a good strategy for vetting content if they do take off.