Yelp! Changing the Local Game Some More

The image below is a screengrab from my iPhone as I am pointing it down a street. The phone is using an augmented reality feature of the Yelp! iPhone app called Monocle. What your seeing is that as I point the camera at a location Yelp! reviews pop on the screen. I can click through or simply choose to skip that shop I was going to go into based on the slew of two star reviews. If this image doesn’t get your attention that reviews on sites like Google Maps and Yelp! are important then nothing will.

Yelp! also added a “check in” feature so people using the app can note when they visit a location. At some point this information will become very valuable and expect Yelp! to build advertising opportunities around check ins – on your 10th visit to a coffee shop you get a free drink coupon, for example. This could be bad news for location games Foursquare and Gowalla.

Google recently mailed 100,000 decals of “favorite places” it has listed in Google Maps. These decals have a square image, called a QR code. When someone with a QR reader on their phone snaps the code the business listing in Google Maps comes up – reviews and all. Now, admittedly, even my geekiest friends don’t have QR readers, but, like RSS, Google can build QR scanning into it’s Android phones like plumbing.

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  • david horne

    I am interested to see what other industries will make the next leap. Entertainment? Hotels? Are there any other companies early adopting?

  • Randy Vaughn

    Is there a logic to which reviews Google Maps pulls in to their feed for reviews? I know they input from InsiderPages, Judy'sBook, and CitySearch . . . do they feed in from Yelp!, too? These are powerful realities most small businesses want to ignore, but they shouldn't! “Ignorance is bliss” is what one owner told me when I told him about various reviews he didn't know was out there – but he later changed his mind and said, “ignorance is a MISS” – meaning you have to stay on top of reputation management!

  • ducttape

    Of course there's a logic, but nobody knows what it is :) Like many things Google, there are numerous factors, how old the review is where it's from, how active the reviewer is on that site, etc. Rumor has is that there are power type reviews that carry more weight?? They do pull from Yelp! for sure though.

  • jennifermolinepsprint

    Yelp really seems to be targeting businesses more and more. I just blogged about their reaching out to small businesses to creating co-branding opportunities.

    I wonder what their goal is: competition with Foursquare, Gowalla and the like, or better rapport with small biz.

  • Andy Finkle

    It is still the first inning for all the aforementioned guys but I fully expect Foursq/Godwalla to start pushing (rewarding) their users for reviewing ala yelp. For Yelp, content is king for now – however they need to learn 'Keep it simple stupid (KISS)' – and make it easy for their users to simply click 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' – perhaps with an option to edit the review further when they are in front of a desktop.

    As for QR codes – these are HUGELY popular in Japan (and other countries). They have not caught on yet in the US because of patent issues and competing standards. Lastly, a business model for the Telcos to push them out. This is all changing, and rapidly. I expect we will all be scanning (see app such as Shopsavvy) and looking at QR codes everywhere (retail windows, billboards,magazines,etc) real real soon.

  • mattstone1916

    Can't get past the term “augmented reality.”

    Talk about instant marketing potential though.. location information, instant coupons… and on and on! Could be a real marketing 'game changer.'


  • Mike Korner

    Wow! Cool and scary at the same time. “Power to the people”, that's for sure. Sadly, few local businesses realize any of this is happening. They haven't even heard of Yelp or Google Local. Time to wake up because there is a steamroller heading into town. It's going to be interesting.

  • UrbaneWay

    John, Good Morning
    All of this is forcing brands, big and small to get involved with their customer. What a novel idea, and nothing new really.

    Those businesses striving for Remarkable have little to fear, and everything to gain as this emerging technology makes customer outreach and engagement easy and affordable for every small business, and really levels the playing field for the savvy small business operator who is not afraid of engagement.

  • David Siteman Garland

    Location-based apps/sites/games are all the rage right now and it will be interesting to see how companies and users catch on.

    The possibilities and value are there. Especially since it takes folks away from the computer and into a physical store.

    The key like many of these things is closing that digital divide. In that respect, simplicity is often king.

  • unknownprofits

    This app may be to social-media marketing what a heads-up cockpit display is to an F-22 fighter pilot — a game changer that gives an “unfair” advantage to merchants smart enough to encourage positive reviews of their stores.

    If I ran a coffee shop, forget giving out a free cup for every 5th visit — I'd give one out for every positive review posted on Yelp … with a biscotti if you upload a photo!

    – John Dough, http://www.UnknownProfits.TV

  • starting a home business

    nice blog with good information.
    keep sharing such a wonderful post with us.
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  • Sean Grace

    This is a very intriguing app. If I had an iPhone I would definitely want to use a feature like this. Plus, it gives consumers even more power by allowing their ratings and reviews to appear so easily for people to see. Businesses better be paying attention to customer satisfaction.

  • ducttape

    I agree – probably coming to all smart phones before long too

  • pompa


  • Colin Stevens

    That is a cool app! I will be downloading it most certainly. I'm kind of with Mike Korner on this one…very cool, but a little scary. Even more incentive to please your clients/customers!

    In my area, businesses are quickly adapting and integrating the Web (FB, Yelp, Twitter, YouTube) into their business models. Finding anything now is SO easy! Where can it go from here?

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  • Free Games

    This is interesting. I think if it was developed properly it can be a great features. Not to mention it can also be a unique social interaction.