Thursday, February 19, 2009

Follow-up : Quick Email interview with Yelp

Update : 20th February 2009

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I quickly got hold of Chantelle Karl who was about to hop on a plane back to NYC this morning and asked her to give me a few details about Yelp . Here is the dialogue.  You can reach Chantelle  on Twitter at @cckarl if you have any questions or you can comment here and I can do a follow-up.

a) What do the Yelp Sales reps sell?

First, to be clear, Yelp provides two types of tools to businesses:
1) Yelp for Business Owners which is absolutely FREE to any business that claims its Yelp listing. These tools include:
-Ability to monitor online conversations
-Make sure contact/location/business hours are up-to-date
-Add pictures
-Reach out to customers through private messaging
-Offer coupons
-Keep track of page views; total number of reviews, as well as get notified when new ones are posted
-About this Business: Biz owners are able to highlight their specialties; provide a short history; introduce owner, manager, etc and recommend other businesses.
Again, these suite of tools are all free to any business and an opportunity to have more of a voice and personality on the site - letting business owners connect directly with the 19+ million people that visited Yelp in the past 30 days alone.
2) The Yelp Sponsorship Program  - this is what Yelp sales reps are selling and range in packages and price. Essentially the program offers the following:
-Enhance your business page on Yelp with a slide-show
-A personalized message from your business
-A highlighted favorite review (which is clearly marked as such)
-Your ad will appear in targeted search as well as other business listings
-In addition to all the features available in Yelp for Business Owners
Yelp does NOT remove negative reviews, reorder reviews or let business owners choose the order of their reviews. Please feel free to look at ANY of the Yelp sponsor listings as well as contact them directly to underscore this.

b) What kind of businesses can expect they may receive a call ?

Currently, any business with 3 stars and above on the site. If business owners are interested in learning more about the program, they can either check out the Yelp biz owner FAQ, or complete this form and Yelp will reach out to them directly.

c) Any success stories you can share of a business that advertises on yelp and succeeds?

Absolutely - I'd encourage you to reach out to any Yelp advertiser whether a dentist in NY, a french restaurant in DC or an organic mattress seller in San Francisco. Not only will they corroborate in their own words that Yelp doesn't rearrange reviews, remove negative postings, etc but they can also share insight into why they opted to use the program, as well as what results they've seen. It doesn't really matter what industry, rather we've seen businesses who engage with their customers see the most success. We also have testimonial of Yelp sponsors on the business FAQ.

Please comment and give  me your opinion.

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