Anonymously quoted, but quoted nonetheless. Which leads me to ponder explaining the seductive draw of the Yelp. There are so many haters of the Yelp, and I think some with very good reason. Rumors are rife that Yelp is fixed in favor of businesses that give advertising dollars to Yelp. The LATimes reported on February 11th of this year,
In April, the site added Yelp for Business Owners, which allows businesses to edit their company profiles, post special offers and privately e-mail reviewers. Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s co-founder and chief executive, is blogging more often about how Yelp works and just started a Twitter account to communicate with business owners and reviewers. Yelp is also planning conversations at chambers of commerce and local restaurant associations."
Amid the controversy and questionable practices, why do I continue to not only use Yelp, but consistently write reviews good and bad of the many places I go and services I experience? For two reasons. First and most importantly, I travel for a living. Despite the fact that I spend many nights away from my beloved Echo Park hovel and its inhabitants, I still need to workout, eat, get a pedicure, shop for books, drink coffee, and have the occasional glass of wine. Otherwise a two day business trip becomes 48 hours of work in a row. I need to know where in Bakersfield I can get great gumbo (Champ's), where in Hemet I can find a chirashi (Samurai), where in Temecula I can find a body sculpting class (LAFitness) and where in Palm Springs I can get a pedicure after 5 pm (still looking).
My habit is to take all Yelp reviews with a grain of salt. I tend to ignore anything that seems under or overhyped and read what the reviews say in the middle. Sometimes even reading what someone else hates about a place tells me what I will love. One Yelp reviewer's hatred of Noshi Sushi's style of nigiri tells me I will adore the simplicity, classicism and ignorance of trends in sushi construction.
There is a second reason I Yelp. Honestly, participating in the Yelp community is fun. I have made friends. I have met people I email to on a semi-regular basis. I get invited to interesting events and learn more about my beautiful Los Angeles and surrounding areas. I love Yelp. I Yelp. So sue me.