Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

The Power of Yelp

I was vaguely aware of Yelp for some time, but only joined last month when I had a strong (positive) experience with a car mechanic (any Saab drivers looking for a good mechanic?). A week ago, I had a similar experience at a Credit Union … and when I got home, I went straight to Yelp.

In this past month, I have gone to Yelp on several occasions before going to a particular store or service (or not  going). In this age of Internet, Yelp empowers the consumer to make informed decisions through interaction with other people.

Does Anyone Know The Story Behind This?


Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

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2 thoughts on “The Power of Yelp

  1. Yelp took a credibility dive in the last year when it came out the people could pay for favorable ratings or placement or preference. There were also comments about getting multiple negative reviews heaped upon competition. Yelp could be a good source in the absence of any other reliable recommendation. But, like everything on the net these days, there is reason for caution and satisfying yourself as to the value of information before acting on it.

  2. Yes, I have mixed feelings about Yelp and so many things like this online including Amazon, which I used to rely on heavily. I see lots of ratings on Yelp and Amazon that I’m sure are fake. On Amazon, it’s usually pretty easy because the fakes say something really stupid and obvious, strait out of a commercial: “This is the perfect thing for young couples just starting out! Yippee!”

    Did you know, that in the world of opera (in Italy, at least) singers trying to break through to big recognition hire “claques” – groups of people to cheer and yell, “Bravo!” at the end of that singers arias? More recently, we have seen that appearance of the “anti-claque” – people hired to boo competitors.

    All of this shows what a herding species we really are. “If other people are booing, I guess I shouldn’t like this either.”

    -Tom Rossi

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