Yelp have recently opened up their API for free use by developers. The data provided by Yelp will now be able to easily be used in websites and apps at no cost.
So what will this mean? Well, for a start it will give Yelp’s adverts and content far greater visibility and exposure. But is this a move that will prove to be good or bad for businesses? There is potential for business reviews, both positive and negative, to reach a lot more people, which could have significant impact on reputations.
Yelp has plenty of competitors to deal with in its field, Google of course one of them. By opening up their API in this way they will be hoping that they’ll be better positioned to try and compete with these rivals. Their content and brand will be spread out all over the web for consumers to see, with integrations already included within the Pebble smartwatch, iOS and Yahoo Local for example.
Content such as Yelp reviews, ratings, business information and photos will be readily available for consumers to access.
So it may all sound like a good move for Yelp. But what could this mean for businesses featured in their listings?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the business reviews on Yelp, which will now become a lot more widespread than ever. Yes, if your business has floods of great Yelp reviews for all to see, then this greater exposure may well be excellent news for business.
However, there are some businesses who feel Yelp are ruining listings with an underhand approach to how they deal with reviews. They have been widely accused of hiding positive reviews from users, unless money is spent on their advertising options. Although commonly talked about, there has been little evidence to actually prove this.
Another worry for businesses is the possibility of fake reviews. The relative ease of leaving a review for a business has sparked debate over Yelp’s handling of fake reviews that try and damage a company’s reputation. These are certainly something that business owners will not want to see gain greater outreach. Especially as studies have shown that a large percentage of people now turn to local reviews online, and trust what they read.
There are plenty of misleading and exaggerated Yelp reviews out there, which could have an unfair impact on business if extensively broadcast to consumers. And the fact that more mobile apps and websites will include this data, will surely lead to even more being written.
So this move by Yelp could well cause a stir amongst businesses online. Will this help Yelp compete against the likes of Google? How will businesses fair from greater review exposure? It will certainly be interesting to see how this develops.