What is Yelp?
Yelp is an online urban city guide that helps people find cool places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play, based on the informed opinions of a vibrant and active community of locals in the know. Yelp is the fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what's great — and not so great — in your world.
Is Yelp free?
Yes! Other than some of our advertising features, you can use the site for free.
Who uses Yelp?
You'll find a wide range of people on Yelp, including locals who are "in the know" about what's cool and happening in their city, visitors who want to get an insider's local perspective, and anyone trying to find a great local business.
What is the "Yelp Elite Squad"?
The Yelp Elite Squad is our way of recognizing and rewarding yelpers who are active evangelists and role models, both on and off the site. Elite-worthiness is based on a number of things, including well-written reviews, great tips on mobile, a fleshed-out personal profile, an active voting and complimenting record, and playing nice with others. Members of the Elite Squad are designated by a shiny Elite badge on their account profile. If you think you or someone you know might be ready to be Yelp Elite, visit http://www.yelp.co.uk/elite.
Is Yelp just a place for rants? How do the reviews break down by rating?
We crunched the numbers and here's what we found (as of Q1 2014).
The numbers don't lie: people love to talk about the things they love!
What should I review on Yelp?
Any local business, service or place with a physical presence is fair game. Think: restaurants, shops, bars, salons, spas, dentists, mechanics, parks, museums, etc. Make sure you take a look at our Content Guidelines before you start writing.
What if I had a bad experience? Can I say something negative?
We like to hear about the good, the bad, and everything in between. Be sure to include all the relevant facts and details, and don't embellish your story for effect. We are big believers in freedom of speech, but beware the legal consequences if you post false information.
Does Yelp mind if I get a freebie in exchange for my review?
Please don't write a five-star review of your local watering hole in exchange for a free drink. That said, if you independently luck into a free drink or two because of your charming personality, by all means, enjoy the largesse but don't forget to mention the free perks when writing your review.
Can business owners publicly comment on my reviews?
We've created a feature that allows business owners to publicly comment on a review. You are able to message them back if they post a public comment on your review.
My review doesn't show on the business's profile page unless I'm logged in. What's going on?
If your review isn't showing up on a business's page unless you're logged in, your review isn't one of the reviews we are showcasing today for other users. Don't worry: even if your review isn't one of the millions we currently recommend, other people can still see it on your profile page and it might be recommended on another day. You can read more in the "Recommended Reviews" section below.
How do I get the Useful, Funny, and Cool buttons at the bottom of my reviews?
Users can vote on reviews that they think are - you guessed it - Useful, Funny or Cool. You can't vote on your own reviews, but once others begin to realize just how brilliant you are, you'll be racking up the Useful, Funny and Cool votes in no time.
How do I publish my reviews to Facebook or Twitter?
Easy! Go to the External Applications page in Account settings and following the instructions there.
Are reviews displayed in any particular order?
Users can decide for themselves how best to order reviews by clicking one of the links just above the reviews (e.g., date, rating, voting, etc.). Yelp's default sort order takes a number of factors into account and reflects our own attempt to present reviews in a meaningful order. For example, we'll favor reviews from your friends and the users you follow. The sort algorithm does not take into account whether the business is an advertiser or not.
Do reviews ever get removed?
Users can remove their own reviews, and our user support team can also remove the ones that violate our Content Guidelines or Terms of Service. Whether a business is a Yelp advertiser has no impact on this whatsoever. We also use automated software to recommend the most helpful and reliable reviews among the millions we get. The ones that aren’t selected are featured less prominently on a business’s page and don’t factor into the business’s overall star rating, but they are not removed from the site. You can read more in the “Recommended Reviews” section below.
Does Yelp recommend every review from every user?
No. We get millions of reviews from our users, and our job is to showcase the ones that best reflect the opinions of the Yelp community. These recommended reviews comprise about three quarters of the reviews we get. The remaining reviews are accessible from a link at the bottom of each business’s profile page, but they don’t factor into a business’s overall star rating or review count.
Note that this approach is very different from other sites that tend to feature every single negative rant and positive rave. We do our best to nurture a community of users who actively contribute reliable and useful content.
How does Yelp decide which reviews to recommend?
We use automated software developed by our engineers to recommend reviews from the Yelp community. The software looks at dozens of different signals, including various measures of quality, reliability, and activity on Yelp. Most of all, however, it’s looking for people who are intrinsically motivated to share the wide range of rich and detailed experiences they have every day with local businesses.
Why would a review not be recommended?
There are a number of reasons why a review might not be recommended. For example, the review might have been posted by a less established user, or it may seem like an unhelpful rant or rave. Some of these reviews are fakes (like the ones we see originating from the same computer) and some suggest a bias (like the ones written by a friend of the business owner), but many are real reviews from real customers who we just don’t know much about and therefore can’t recommend.
Do Yelp advertisers get preferential treatment?
No. Our recommendation software treats advertisers and non-advertisers exactly the same. You’ll find plenty of Yelp advertisers with negative reviews, and plenty of non-advertisers with five-star ratings across the board. Furthermore, there is zero relationship between the timing of when a review gets recommended and when a business decides to – or declines to – advertise: reviews can be recommended or not recommended days, weeks, or even months after they were first posted, and your friendly Yelp sales representative doesn’t have any influence over when that might happen.
In short, there is no relationship between reviews and anything having to do with Yelp Ads or the Yelp Ads sales process. Period.
Does Yelp recommend more positive or negative reviews?
About 80% of the reviews we recommend are three stars or higher, but that’s mostly just because our users write more positive reviews in the first place. Indeed, researchers at Harvard and Boston University debunked the myth that Yelp skews negative by showing that Yelp recommended far more positive than negative reviews.
Of course, a number of positive reviews never make the cut either – that’s perfectly normal too, and assuming there’s no funny business going on (like someone writing reviews from multiple accounts), it’s just the normal operation of the recommendation software trying to highlight the most helpful and reliable reviews regardless of star rating.
Why are different reviews recommended on different days?
Our recommendation software runs on a daily basis, so the results can change on a daily basis. You’ll sometimes see situations where a review is recommended or not recommended days, weeks, or even months after it is initially posted. For example, our recommendation software might pick up new information that makes a reviewer seem more trustworthy than was initially assumed. The reverse also happens. Sometimes, the information we have about a reviewer grows stale or is incomplete, so the software can take that into account too.
The important point here is that our recommendation software routinely produces different results on different days based on the information that feeds it.
Are employees at Yelp allowed to manually override the recommendation software to recommend (or not recommend) a particular review?
No. Our recommendation software is automated precisely so that it can apply the same objective standards to every business and every review without being overridden by someone’s personal preferences. As a separate matter, our User Support team can manually remove reviews that violate our Content Guidelines, but there is nothing they can do to monkey with our recommendation software or override it.
Should I ask my customers to write reviews for me on Yelp?
No, you shouldn’t ask your customers to post reviews on Yelp.
For one thing, most businesses tend to ask their happiest customers to write reviews, not the unhappy ones. These self-selected reviews tell only part of the story, and we don’t think that’s fair to consumers. We would much rather hear from members of the Yelp community who are inspired to talk about their experiences without a business owner’s encouragement.
As a result, you shouldn’t be surprised if our software fails to recommend the reviews that you’ve asked your customers to write. Your best bet to get high quality and unbiased reviews about your business is to provide a memorable and amazing customer experience – it has nothing to do with asking your customers to post on Yelp.
Why doesn’t Yelp recommend every review?
There are plenty of review sites that collect and display as many reviews from as many reviewers as possible. Yelp is different; we try to emphasize a smaller selection of reviews in an effort to keep the focus on helpful and reliable consumer experiences from our core community.
We think we’re doing a good job given the sheer volume of reviews we receive and the inevitable differences of opinion that people have when it comes to reviews. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what we think — consumers will only use Yelp if the experiences they read about on Yelp match the experiences they have in real life.
Business Listing Information
How did my business information end up on Yelp?
We license basic business information from third party data providers who gather this type of information from public records and other sources. We also get business information from our users, who are helpful enough to correct the info we have, or let us know about a new spot that just opened down the street. Please feel free to let us know if our information is out of date!
Where does Yelp get information about how expensive a business is, whether it's good for kids, etc.?
These subjective attributes are voted on by users who have reviewed the business. They can change over time as more people review the business and cast more votes. The more objective attributes that we show in the business listing (whether the business accepts credit cards or is wheelchair accessible) can be set by the business owner if he/she has signed up for a free Business Owner's Account.
Do business owners have a voice on Yelp?
Every business owner can claim their business and set up a business owner’s account on Yelp. The free tools provided allow a business owner to respond to reviews (both privately and publicly), post descriptive information about their business, add photos, and track activity and customer leads from their Yelp page. This is all available at biz.yelp.com.
What are "Yelp Ads"?
You may see "Yelp Ads" when you search for a business or land on a business profile page. These are advertisements that are paid for by local businesses. For more information, please visit the Business Support Center.
Will Yelp remove or reorder bad reviews if a business pays for advertising?
No. You can't pay us to remove or reorder your bad reviews — it's just that simple. It's worth pointing out some additional checks and balances that we build into the system: among other things, we separate the revenue side of our business from the content side of our business, just as a newspaper might put a firewall between their advertising and reporting functions.
To rank highly in Yelp search results, do businesses have to buy advertising?
Yelp search result pages often feature one or more clearly labeled Yelp Ads, but Yelp’s numbered search results (all of the other listings in white background) have absolutely nothing to do with who is paying us. For example, check out this search result for the very popular “Restaurant, San Francisco” query. As of March 2014, none of the resulting top 10 restaurants is a Yelp advertiser.
Can Yelp salespeople manipulate reviews for prospective advertisers?
We have every reason to trust the smart, hard-working and ethical salespeople who work at Yelp. Beyond this, to avoid even an appearance of impropriety, we've taken several steps to ensure no member of our team is tempted to game the system. Specifically:
- Yelp salespeople don't have back-end administrative privileges that would allow them to alter the Yelp review database.
- Every Yelp salesperson signs an agreement that s/he will not write reviews of any business while employed by Yelp. We trust our teammates in sales to live up to this commitment. We also have several monitoring systems in place to help us ensure nobody (accidentally or otherwise) crosses this line.
- If we ever did find out that a salesperson was trying to game the system, their employment would end that day.
- When a new advertiser signs up with Yelp, that business owner then participates in a new orientation webinar that, in addition to providing further information about Yelp, confirms that reviews have nothing to do with advertising.
Do Yelp salespeople take “no” for an answer?
Our salespeople call local businesses to introduce our targeted advertising programs; we’re trying to establish warm new relationships, never to irritate someone. Persistence is part of sales, and if a business manager asks one of our salespeople to “keep in touch” or “call next week,” we will! On the other hand, our salespeople don’t like wasting time (yours or theirs), so if you tell your Yelp sales rep to call back in three months, we’ll do that. And if you really want us never to call again, we will add you to our “Do Not Call” list. Simply notify the member of our sales team who contacted you, or send in your request.
How is the ranking of search results determined?
Yelp's search results are based on an algorithm that is designed to provide the best results based on a number of different factors including review text, ratings, and number of reviews. We are constantly working on improving our search results so that we can deliver the most relevant local results to our users.
How do I verify my Yelp account?
When you've completed the registration process, you will receive an email with a special link. Click it to verify your account. When the verification message arrives in your email in-box, click the verification link, or copy and paste it into your browser. Your account will be verified at this point. If it doesn't work please let us know.
How do I change my basic account information?
To edit your profile or to change your account preferences, log in and click your user name that appears at the top of any page (next to "Friends' Activity") and then choose "Account Settings". You will be able to edit your account preferences here.
How do I change my email address?
Your email addresses and password are found under "Account Settings" which appears when you click on your user name in the upper right section of any page. Click that link and you will be taken to your Account Settings page, or click here to go directly to your email addresses.
Who can find me and my reviews on Yelp?
Everyone can read your reviews and take a look at your account profile, photos, bookmarks, and other content that you've contributed to the site. Your public profile will be tied to your first name and last initial (e.g., "Jeremy S."). Other than just stumbling upon you and your great reviews by browsing the site, other people can find you using the "Member Search" feature, Facebook's "Instant Personalization" feature, and the various features that allow users to add their friends on Yelp. You can manage your privacy settings here.
How do I close my account on Yelp?
To close your user account, please click here. If you don't mind telling us, we'd love to hear why you want to leave. While Yelp continues to evolve your feedback makes a big difference. If there's something you found unsatisfying about Yelp, tell us about it and we'll do our best to try to do better.
Fans, Friends, and Other Favorites
What's a friend on Yelp?
Well, a friend on Yelp is pretty much the same thing as a friend anywhere else. It's someone you enjoy interacting with on Yelp and want to hold out to the world as your pal. Of course, you don't need to be friends with someone to send them compliments or read their reviews, so keep in mind that just like life itself, the Yelp experience extends beyond your close-knit group of friends.
How do I invite friends?
Yelp is so much better when the people you know are here. So invite all your friends, family and work colleagues, maybe even some enemies just as long as they have some good reviews! Click on the "Invite Friends" tab in the header of any page on Yelp, and enter the email addresses of the people you'd like to invite to join your network.'
We've already created an invitation message for you, but feel free to personalise it. The invitation will automatically contain your first and last name as entered in your Yelp account settings, and will contain your email address in the "From:" line. When you're finished customising your message, just click "Send."
The invitation will include a link that brings your friend to Yelp, where they'll be able to read more about why Yelp is the fun and easy way to make, recommend and talk about what's great in their world. If they accept your invitation, they'll automatically appear in your network.
How do I remove a friend?
Easy! Start by going to the Friends page in Account settings. To remove a friend, click on the gray "X" to the right of the person you'd like to remove.
What is a "fan"?
Users can "follow" you (see the "Follow This Reviewer" links on user profiles) and in doing so they become your fan. You won't be able to see their identity, but they are showing their appreciation for your passionate Yelping and they'll also see your reviews first when browsing any businesses you've reviewed.
What does it mean to "follow" another reviewer?
By clicking the link on a user's profile to "Follow This Reviewer", you'll be showing your appreciation for their reviews by becoming their fan. You will also see their reviews first in our default sort order whenever you browse a business they've reviewed.
What are Bookmarks?
Similar to bookmarks in your web browser, bookmarks on Yelp are a way for you to mark a business or review so you can remember to come back to it later. Bookmark buttons are conveniently located at the top of each business listing and at the bottom of business reviews. Clicking on a bookmark button adds that business to your list. You and others may look at your bookmark list by going to your profile and clicking on the "Bookmark" tab at the top of the profile. Users can always see their own bookmarks but may want to keep it private and prevent others from seeing it. "Private" can be clicked at the top of their listing. "Make Public" is the default and will allow anyone to see your bookmark list.
What are check-in offers?
Certain businesses offer discounts when yelpers check in to that business. You can tell which places provide these offers by viewing their business page in the mobile app or by tapping "Check-In Offers" on the Nearby screen.
How do I earn a check-in offer?
When you check in to a business that offers one, you'll immediately be presented with a check in offer certificate in the mobile app. You can choose to use it at that time, or save it to use later.
How do I redeem a check-in offer?
From your mobile app, visit the Deals section and tap "My Deals", which holds all of the offers you've earned. Simply show your phone to an employee of the business to redeem it.
How do I earn badges?
You can earn badges by checking in to businesses. What type of badge you get depends on what businesses you check into - for example, checking in to many sushi places will earn you the Sushi Sensei badge. You can also earn certain badges by checking into businesses along with your friends.
Where can I see all the badges that I or another yelper has earned?
You can view your badges by opening the Yelp mobile app for iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry, and tapping the About Me section. From here you can see how many badges you've earned. You can also view other peoples' badges by viewing their user profile from the mobile app.
Android App Permissions
Why does Yelp ask for access to my contacts data?
If you are logged in to Yelp, you have the option to find friends from your phone's contact list that are also on Yelp. You can then decide whether to add them as friends on your Yelp account. This info is also used to auto-populate contact data when adding a Yelp Deals gift for your friends, as well as when placing a reservation with OpenTable, in order to make filling out this information faster and easier. No emails are sent to anyone in your address book without your authorization, we don't expose this contact data to any marketers, and we don't store this contact data any longer than it takes to process the transaction.
Why does Yelp ask for access to my device's photos & camera?
This allows the app to use your device's camera to upload photos of businesses to Yelp. Additionally, the Yelp Monocle feature accesses the camera to overlay business information on-screen wherever the user points their phone. No photos are taken or retrieved without your knowledge, and all camera actions require the user to initiate them.
Why does Yelp ask for access to my device's SD card?
Certain images like business photos are sometimes cached and stored on your phone for faster retrieval. Photos you take are also sometimes stored as they're uploaded. We always remove these photos from your SD card shortly after the upload finishes.
Business Regulars and Royalty
How do I become a Regular at a business?
You can become a Regular at a business by checking in there two or more times in the past few months. You can lose your Regular title if you stop checking in to the business.
What are Regular rankings and how do I move up in rank?
Regulars are ranked according to how many total check-ins they have at a business with more recent check-ins counting more. To move up in rank simply visit the business frequently and remember to check-in. The top Regular (the Regular ranked #1) gets to wear the crown as the Duke or Duchess of the business.
How do I become the Duke or Duchess of a business?
The top Regular (the Regular ranked #1) gets to wear the crown as the Duke or Duchess of the business. To move up in rank and become the Duke or Duchess simply visit the business frequently and remember to check-in. You can lose your crown if someone else checks in to the business more regularly than you or if you simply stop checking in there for a few months.
How do I become the Baron or Baroness of an Area?
Easy: just get the most Dukedoms in your 'hood and we'll crown you as its Baron or Baroness.
How do I become the King or Queen of a City?
Lofty aspirations, eh? We like that. It is decreed that the user with the most Dukedoms in a city will be crowned as the King or Queen of the city. If you're an iPhone user, it's rumored that you'll be rewarded with a gilded app.
My Dukedom and/or Regular count went down. What the heck?
In real life you can't really be considered a Regular at a business that you stop visiting. Similarly, if you stop checking into a business you can lose your Regular title. Because the Dukedom is awarded to the user who is the #1 Regular, you can also lose your crown if you stop checking in to that business.
The current Duke has less check-ins than I do, why am I not the Duke of the business?
Because recent check-ins count more and suspicious check-ins (e.g. checking in too frequently) count less, it's possible for someone to be the Duke or Duchess even if another user has more total check-ins at that business.
I check-in all the time, why haven't I moved up on the Leaderboard or become the Duke/Duchess?
If the users ranked higher than you are also regularly checking in to the same business they will continue to keep a higher rank. Additionally, suspicious check-ins (e.g. checking in too frequently) are counted less towards your ranking.
Why can't I see the number of check-ins that the Duke has? Same for others on the Regulars list and the Leaderboard?
We always show your total check-ins at a business and on the Leaderboards. We don't show the total number of check-ins other users have because it's not the only factor determining rank. For example, recent check-ins count more and suspicious check-ins (e.g. checking in too frequently) count less.
What happened to Qype?
Yelp acquired Qype in October 2012. Qype has now been integrated into Yelp..
What happened to the photos and reviews I already posted on Qype?
We moved most of the photos and reviews from Qype to Yelp. If you posted photos and reviews to Qype, you can attach them to your Yelp account by visiting the link here www.yelp.co.uk/qypeaccount. Please note that you won't be able to import some of your other Qype contributions, like check-ins, lists/guides and reviews of virtual places.
Do I need to create an account on Yelp?
You only need to create an account on Yelp if you want to (a) claim the photos and reviews you originally posted to Qype, or (b) post new photos and reviews. You can get started by clicking here.
I don't want to be on Yelp. What do I do?
Please contact our user operations team at www.yelp.co.uk/contact to remove any of the photos and reviews you originally posted on Qype. Please include your Qype username so we can find, verify and handle your request.
What does Yelp do with my personal information?
If you receive spammy messages from another Yelp member, or if you receive a message that is harassing, abusive, or contains a violation of our Terms of Service, please report it here.
Who can contact me on Yelp?
Other users can contact you on Yelp, including the businesses you review. If you'd prefer not to be contacted by business owners, you may change your settings here. You can also block future messages from specific users by selecting "Block User" under their account name when viewing a message from them.
I'm not happy with what consumers are saying about me on Yelp - should I get my lawyer involved?
We have nothing but love and respect for lawyers (ahem), but you may want to consider the following. First, beware of the so-called Streisand Effect, which can quickly turn a manageable customer service problem into an unmanageable disaster. Lawyers love to draft threatening letters. However, far from being cowed, recipients will sometimes go public with them as a warning to others not to patronize your business. Second, beware of lawyers who are quick to file lawsuits without telling their clients that it can cost them dearly (see example here). Last, take a step back: if you find yourself insisting that a review is obviously untrue, there’s every reason to think that your customers will draw the same conclusion as you. Even if they don’t, Yelp’s recommendation software is always on the prowl, and it may eventually be able to put enough pieces of the puzzle together over the long-term to avoid recommending the bogus review.