The ‘Smart apps’ explosion is happening right now

You might think your smartphone is pretty smart, but many smartphone apps are still pretty dumb, lacking contextual knowledge about you, your preferences, and your environment. That’s about to change.

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How to get more positive reviews for your business (the honest way)

If you’ve ever thought about paying for inauthentic endorsements like this, you better pump the breaks because third party review sites are now making it as obvious as Snooki’s spray tan that you’ve invested in fake reviews.

Obama hug spurs yelp reviews

Presidential bear hug reveals key problems with Yelp

Since the owner of Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce, Fla., bear hugged President Obama over the weekend, he’s seen his reviews spike. Today, he has more than 2,200 reviews. Last week, he had two.

OpenTable

OpenTable’s hidden stash of restaurant reviews

Restaurant reservations service OpenTable announced today that it has collected more than 15 million reviews since it started a little less than four years ago.

yelp-facelift

Yelp’s had some (subtle) work done

You know those ladies who’ve had enough injectables to turn their lips into an approximation of water park inner tubes and their foreheads into Alaskan glaciers that will never, ever melt? Well, that’s totally not what has happened to Yelp’s homepage.

Yelp makes a better second impression in Q2, with $32.7M in revenue

Business reviews site Yelp has today made a stronger second impression on Wall Street with its Q2 2012 statement, its second earnings report as a public company. The company handily beat expectations by posting $32.7 million in revenue and a smaller-than-expected loss of $2 million, or $0.03 per share, for the quarter.

The future of local is real time and mobile

Since the mid-1990s, entrepreneurs have been trying to tackle the local market. Many have failed. Others, like Yelp and Groupon, have been successful selling services to small businesses, but those services are of dubious value. (Disclosure: I have puts against Yelp and Groupon.)

Weaker Q2 tech earnings could make investors jittery

Earnings season starts this week for tech companies, and no one is expecting outstanding second-quarter results. If the reports turn out to be weaker than expected, then tech investors might run for the hills, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Groupon study

Study: Groupon’s merchant quality is on the downslide

Have you had the feeling the quality of Groupon deals is going down? If so, you’re right. A report released this morning by Giorgos Zervas, a postdoctoral fellow of computer science at Yale University, shows that the average rating of a Groupon merchant before a deal runs is declining as Groupon matures. Zervas and other researchers had shown earlier that a business’s individual Yelp ratings dropped after running a Groupon. Yelp ratings by Groupon customers were, on average, 10% lower than those of their peers. (Disclosure: I met Zervas after the initial study and offered my theory that the average Yelp rating of merchants featured would be declining.)