Posts Tagged ‘yelp’

Whether it’s on Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Google or some other mobile check in platform, if you’re a business owner, there’s no way in hell you should ever be checking in to your own business. Why?

It’s lame.

You’re there everyday. Say hello to us, comment on our check ins. But quit stealing our thunder.

Check ins. Highly social. Very much a game. I fight other users for my dukedoms on Yelp. And it’s cool, cuz we’re on a level playing field. But the minute a business has its owner or one of the employees as the duke, mayor, whatever other “winner” of the game, I stop checking in. And when I stop checking in, I stop telling my friends where I’m frequenting the most. It’s cool to be the most “regular” of regulars at the shops I love. It’s shitty when I have to compete with business owners, employees and anyone else that has an ulterior motive. And frankly, as innocent as it may seem, I put it in the “black hat” social media tactic category.

So if you’re in the habit. Please stop. A better alternative? Become a player yourself. Check in to the businesses you love… but here’s the real kicker… make sure they’re ones you aren’t affiliated with. Then you’re one of us, we trust you and we’re all better off.

I never fully chomped on the Foursquare bait that some of my Calgary online counterparts have so fondly adopted.  The idea is good, but it only seemed partially developed.  With not much more than check ins to entice me to participate, and no solid crew of friends who were using it as well, I pretty much left location based apps like Foursquare for others to explore for now.

About three weeks ago, I was formally introduced to Yelp.  The site was on my radar of things to check out, I just hadn’t gotten that far down my list yet.  I’m thankful it was bumped up my priority pole.  Yelp is a service I’ve really been able to sink my teeth into.  Those missing pieces from Foursquare I mentioned? Yelp is my cake with extra frosting.

What is it about this site that I like so much?  Well, the first is the reviews.  The writer in me loves the fact that I can put my creativity to work in the places I choose to review on the site.  The socializer in me enjoys being able to connect with other ‘Yelpers’ on the site to compliment each other’s reviews, share and discuss various topics on the conversation boards and find new and interesting people to befriend.  And my inner explorer is already making notes on places to try next (Thai Nong Khai, Lloyds Roller Rink, John’s Breakfast and Lunch to name a few).

There’s also the fact that Yelp seems to draw out the type of people who always know where the good spots are in town.  Most of us probably have one or two people in our networks that we could ask questions like ‘where’s the best Italian food in town?’ or ‘what cool places are there to take my out of town guests?’  Yelp is giving me even more sources to answer those questions.  It’s much easier to be ‘in the know’.

Yelp also has good activity in a lot of major centres all over North America, so whether I’m looking to keep things fresh in my own backyard or want to guarantee a good experience while I’m visiting another city, this site has the community component that earns my trust on what its users are recommending.

My vote is we’ll see more models like Yelp this year and next as the line between online and offline continues to blur.  So until Foursquare, Gowalla, or any of the likes can find a way to cover all of the bases that Yelp does, or do something even better, I shall Yelp on!