Launched in 2004 Yelp is an online review site where users can post on restaurants and other local businesses and is mostly used in metropolitan areas. The main selling point of Yelp is that anybody can create an account and start reviewing at their own pace, they can also read other users reviews and recommendations.
First launched as an internet site Yelp is also accessible through an app on mobile devices and in 2012 it was estimated that 42% of Yelps searches are made from a mobile device.
In recent years users have been able to check hygiene inspection scores and other relevant information on their local businesses. It’s now also possible to make restaurant reservations through the app as well as order food to be delivered.
Because reviews on the service are provided by real people with their own opinions, some users have gotten into trouble over writing negative reviews.Some businesses have tried to sue Yelp and its users for libel but these cases have been rejected on the grounds of freedom of expression. On the flip side there have been cases of ‘fake’ reviews or ‘bought’ reviews where businesses have supplied their own reviews for the service to boost their reputation.