Yelp Is Reportedly Looking To Get Into E-Commerce

    June 5, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

According to one report, Yelp is considering getting into ecommerce with a potential on-site shopping feature.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman spoke at the LeWeb conference in London. According to SocialTimes, he said the company is considering supporting ecommerce.

The report quotes him as saying, “We have a toe in the water, but I see a lot of potential there. We have all these people who are essentially shopping for something online that they’ll buy offline but they’re not closing the transaction,” and adds that Yelp is “considering supporting purchases” to its OpenTable integration, and that the company expects to launch new products within weeks.

While this online shopping stuff did not come up, The Guardian has an interesting interview with Stoppelman from the conference in which he discusses mobile growth, global expansion and recommendations. In that, he also talked a bit about the infamous review filter that many have criticized. Yelp has been accused of extortion by businesses numerous times, charges that the company staunchly rejects. Here’s a snippet from the interview discussing the system:

“There’s the problem of how you protect the businesses, making sure the content is as useful and trustworthy as possible. Although also how you make sure businesses don’t inflate their own ratings,” he says.

That means heavy investment in Yelp’s review filter, which combs through the site’s data to spot suspicious patterns and pull out reviews that may be fake – more than 20% for some businesses according to Stoppelman – and remove them from the main listings, although they are still accessible through a link.

As millions more people use a service like Yelp, does it become harder to game the system? Actually, Stoppelman says that bigger scale means bigger efforts to undermine it.

“The more prominent we are, the more efforts expand to beat the system,” he says. “We’re investing more and more: we have this arm’s race going on. But we think we’re far enough ahead with our efforts

Earlier this year, Yelp topped 100 million unique monthly visitors for the first time. Last month, the company revealed that its average uniques grew 43% year-over-year to 102 million, while revenue was up 68% year-over-year.

  • An Honest Business Owner

    On 5/15/2013, a yelp spokesperson, Luther Lowe, wrote an article titled “how yelp protects consumers from fake reviews”.

    He replied to many of the comments and questions that were posted to his article, but he declined to acknowledge or answer the questions that I had posted to him.

    So I have taken on the task of finding recent news articles and reposting my questions on them, hoping that an official yelp spokesperson will answer them, preferably on their official blog:

    Reposted on 5/15/2013
    Reposted on 5/16/2013
    Reposted on 5/17/2013
    Reposted on 5/18/2013
    Reposted on 5/20/2013
    Reposted on 5/22/2013
    Reposted on 5/31/2013
    Reposted on 6/06/2013

    1- why is the “filtered reviews” button placed on the bottom of the page, where its hard to find? Why isn’t it located next to the other menu choices on the top?

    2- Many business owners wrongly think that if they become paying yelp advertisers, that their reviews will become less filtered. Do you think that if the “filtered reviews” button was easier to find, that businesses would be less inclined to pay advertising fees?

    3- Does a yelp salesperson earn commission or bonuses? And if yes, how does yelp monitor what promises or assurances a yelp salesperson gives to a business owner?

    Many companies monitor their sales staff by recording their sales calls, for quality assurance. Does yelp do this, and if it doesn’t, why not?

    My perspective as an honest business owner:

    1- A review filter is needed, otherwise yelp will become useless.

    2- Yelp has been very good for our business, mainly because we have many positive reviews, both filtered and unfiltered. Yelp has brought in a lot of traffic our way, so yelp deserves credit and a personal “thank you” from me. I’m hoping Mr. Lowe can pass this along to his co-workers.

    3- I support free speech of yelpers and non-yelpers alike. Free speech and the right to express oneself is the foundation our country is built upon, and it is protected by law. Yelp provides a tool to express oneself.

    4- Like it or not, yelp and the other online review sites, are here to stay. As a business owner, you can either keep complaining about it, which in my opinion doesn’t change anything, or you can grasp the new reality, and use it to better your products and services.