Yelp! You remember?
It was one of those things you read about last year, put it on your to do list – must read about it and see how it impacts my business. Jon wrote a blog post about the fact that Yelp was coming to Australia in December 2011. Start there for a bit of catch up perhaps.
So now that it’s over six months since Yelp landed in the Antipodes, probably fairly easy to say it hasn’t made too much of a splash. On a recent trip to Melbourne I used the iPhone app a little to search for restaurants and other businesses and one of the things that struck me was the number of reviews and comments, or in fact the lack of any in most cases.
Australians have certainly embraced other tools; eatability.com.au and tripadvisor.com.au are probably the main ones you’d recognise but also Google Places because without even knowing it, that’s what is driving a lot of search results in the Google Search engines these days. Particularly when you’re searching for location based business (e.g. Indian restaurant in Surry Hills).
It’s all about the software.
iOS is the operating system that drives those millions of iPhones, iPod Touch and iPad devices that your customers wander around with. Version 6 is coming in September this year and there are two important things to know about this update.
1) Apple is dropping Google Maps in favour of its own mapping service
2) Apple is including deep integration with Yelp!
So if you’ve done the right thing, you’ve registered your Google Place page and you’re maintaining it. You have to keep doing that because users of the Google Search engine on a desktop computer, notebook or Android phone are still going to use it. However, every other person (you know like everyone on the morning bus with you on the way to work) that uses an iPhone won’t be exposed to Google like they used to.
Instead they will be using the new Apple mapping service and it shows business data pulled from Yelp.
Until iOS 6 comes out, Siri (the voice concierge service) does not support searching for businesses. In the U.S. right now however you can say to your iPhone “Find a Thai restaurant near me” and Siri will determine your location and find relevant businesses. This service will be coming to Australia with the release of iOS 6 here.
Siri also gets her data from Yelp and Yelp alone.
So if you own a location based business it’s time to act now, visit Yelp.com.au and search for your business. You may find that you already have a basic listing. Follow the process to claim your listing and ensuring that your important details (opening times, product or service offerings), perhaps photos of your venue are up to date.
I can almost promise you without question, Yelp is about to become much more popular in Australia.
Screen shot of Apple Maps courtesy of Beau Giles on Twitter.