Will Australian consumers use the site? How can you use it in your business?
Yelp Australia (at yelp.com.au) brings the popular Yelp format from the US to Australia. Yelp Australia is a review site, which holds user reviews of a huge range of businesses – restaurants, retail shops, hotels, hairdressers, plumbers, dentists, financial services … even religious organisations! Yelp unleashes the inner critic in all of us, allowing everyone to complete reviews and add their comments and virtual word of mouth.
Sites such as Australia’s Eatability and Urbanspoon have targeted the restaurant and cafe scene for a while, and Trip Advisor has been in the Australian market for hotels and accommodation, but often these have suffered from a lack of trust in the reviews. Yelp claims to address this issue with a proprietary algorithm that culls suspicious, malicious or fake reviews which may come from competitors or from the business owners. Yelp also creates a trusted set of reviewers, with the number and scope of a reviewer adding more weight to their reviews. Yelp also has a great advantage in being a source for reviews on any sort of business, making it a go-to site for consumers.
This model has worked well for Yelp in the USA, where it has some impressive stats:
Yelp Australia, like the US parent, makes money from local business advertising on the site, with contextual ads also served by Google and Sensis in Australia. Listings and reviews are never influenced by the advertising. Yelp Australia is also partnering with Sensis to create their database of local business listings.
At TheDMA, we believe that Yelp will go extremely well in Australia. Research from Nielsen (March 2011, State of the Online Nation) found that Australian consumers are highly engaged across existing review sites:
At Yelp Australia, Business owners can claim a free Yelp Business Account, which allows you to do a number of things:
Yelp Australia brings the well known Yelp format to the Australian market, and at TheDMA we believe that this will be an important part of the growing location based marketing for businesses. We include in this category your Google Place and Google Profile for individuals. Contact us if you’d like to discuss how these services can benefit your search engine results and marketing efforts.
Consumer search behaviour is increasingly localised, and search engines are getting better and better at determining where you are and returning results near your location.
Finally, if you have an iPhone use this link to grab a copy of the Yelp app.