Friday, March 06, 2015

Yelp will prompt users to write reviews after an offer-driven check-in

Here is what I learned from this week's article:

Even thought Yelp’s influence  are substantial and growing (the company now feeds content and reviews to Apple Maps, Bing, Yahoo, etc), Yelp’s “no review solicitation” policy has left many marketers frustrated. In fact, Yelp’s “review filter” practices have been the subject of lawsuits.

Unlike with reviews themselves, Yelp allows for incentivized check-ins (“check-in offers”). If users check in to receive an offer, they are prompted by Yelp to review that business upon their return to the site or mobile app (users must be signed in).

Yelp is now allowing business owners to create a pre-review reward for users, who then are asked to review that business. Yelp doesn’t allow businesses to create rewards directly for reviews, but this is an indirect version of that. For businesses with few Yelp reviews this appears to be a good strategy to generate reviews, which are more likely than not to be favorable — emanating from the incentive or offer.It's unclear however what percentage of check-in offers translate into reviews.

Yelp probably wants business owners to encourage check-ins because it helps Yelp prove value and usage. It is unclear if this approach is actually effective.

As Yelp adds more booking and transactional capabilities it will be able to solicit reviews from verified purchasers (OpenTable for example). It is reasonable to expect that the company will move in that direction. For now though this is a little-known way to get more Yelp reviews.

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