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Yelp-ing with pleasure February 7, 2009

Posted by cmvlibrarian in Information Sharing, Web 2.0.
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//tinyurl.com/2dbflr

from Yelp.com on Flickr-used with CC license http://tinyurl.com/2dbflr

 

Yelp has been around for awhile so I was hesitant to blog about until something happened to me, twice actually. For those of you, who haven’t used Yelp its own about page does a really good job of summing it up:

Yelp is the fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what’s great (and not so great) in your world. You already know that asking friends is the best way to find restaurants, dentists, hairstylists, and anything local. Yelp makes it fast and easy by collecting and organizing your friends’ recommendations in one convenient place.

I’ve only been Yelping since the 2008 SLA Annual Conference, where a number of professionals that travel often recommended it when in an unfamiliar area. Since then I’ve added about 14 reviews to it; I’ve even been the first to review a few businesses. 

A few months ago I went to my local barber to get my regular hair cut. The owner surprised me by telling me she’d seen my Yelp review. They normally do an outstanding job at this barber shop but to my surprise the owner went all out and gave me even better treatment than I normally get. This is turn prompted me to return to Yelp and give the barbershop and even higher rating. I didn’t really think about it again (except for on hair cut days), until today when I went to FaceLogic. I’d was the first to rate them on Yelp a few months prior and left a glowing review. Sometime in the last month they’d come across my review, so today not only did they go the extra mile during my visit but they gave me bonus loyalty points (which can be cashed in for discounts). Again I went to Yelp and raised my rating for them.

That’s when it struck me that Yelp has worked out a uniquely empowering system. All this time I thought I’d just been sharing information about local resources with other people (what information professional wouldn’t love that?), but the truth is Yelp goes far beyond that. What I was really doing was expressing myself around a brand, and forming and even deeper recipracol relationship with the businesses. There’s the potential for a Yelp user to form the kind of relationship with businesses that a professional critic for a newspaper or magazine might achieve.

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