Tuesday, September 04, 2007

three reasons yelp works

do you use Yelp? if you live near a major metro area you really should. not only is it a great place find reviews of just about anything in your area, you can also use it in the following ways.

-Directory- How to get there, how to contact them and a link to the actual website.
-Events- Post your event. I've seen everything from Bumbershoot to someone's garage sale.
-Events- Find an event. It's fun to just see what's going on in town.
-Connect with people in your area- It' definitely a social network.
-Find what's hot or new in your area.

This is all useful stuff. Stuff that I do everyday and I'm finding that yelp is a constant dependable resources to find this type of information.

There is also something so not commercial about it and this since of grassrootsness makes me feel comfortable and puts me in an open mood ready to believe the reviews, and creating a desire in me to contribute.

In terms of the design and functionality of the site there are a few things that they just do right.

Everyone gets to be the star.
On the home page in the most prominent location you will find the most recently added reviews. This is awesome because as soon as you post a review you can click to the home page and swell with pride as you see your words front and center. This is also awesome because as a viewer when ever you come to the home page you find the most up to date, unfiltered information in less than a second. You feel like you have your hand on the pulse of the city as you watch what your fellow city mates are writing about make there appearance on the page.
Feedback is given and received
Nothing feels better than someone telling you that what you wrote is cool. Yelp has 3 forms of super quick feed back you can give or receive. Useful, Funny and Cool. Who knew that a simple counter of this feed back could be so motivating. I come back to the site offten for the admitadly embarrassing reason of seeing if someone rated my reviews today.

It works and it is simple, just how it should be. Oh, and what makes it even crazier is that you can't tell who left the feedback, it's just a number no name attached. Take note social network sites, do people really need to connect with someone specific or just know they are noticed and acknowledged?
Non committal interest in an event
I think this functionality is key for event functionality to work in a large community. If you find an event that interests you on Yelp you can say that you will be there, but you can also just say that you think the event sounds cool.

Most online event interactions give you the regular Yes, No and Maybe options. These options force the user make a commitment of Yes or No or give the event creator a useless false hope answer of Maybe. Who wants to say Maybe or get maybe responses. It's like saying, "well I will if nothing better comes up" or "I don't want to say no to your face but there is no way I'm showing up."

Also giving one of these answers some how implies that you are a member of the group that is having this event. This can be off putting to someone who isn't interested in making a statement of inclusion.

Being able to just tell the event organizer and participants that the event "Sounds Cool" sets the stage for buzz to start happening without giving false hope to the organizer that these people are participating. It allows the users to indicate what type of events they find interesting which can drive the creation of more successful events in the future.
One last thing, every site is always working to keep people engaged in the site and with so many sites doing a lot of the same things figuring out how to get a community to gel in a more permanent way is a often a really difficult ongoing task. Yelp is helping to solve the "sticky" site problem by rewarding and connecting the most active and model users. They hold regular parties and events for their "Elite Squad" in all of the metro areas that they serve. Meeting cool people around a free beer would keep most people engaged in a site don't you think? See their blog for wrap ups of their events.

So if you haven't tried Yelp go sign up and tell me what you think. If you are already on Yelp doesn't it rock?

1 comment:

Lauren said...

You know I love it! An all-around great site - like a MySpace that actually serves a purpose...