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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.)

Check-ins

AmEx is the king of check ins — and it could own local

Getting enough data to make local recommendations has proved tough. A restaurant reviewer writing for a local newspaper might write a hundred or so reviews a year. Zagat might cover several thousand in its printed books. Yelp provides near universal coverage in the United States, but it still doesn’t have enough information to provide useful recommendations.

Yelp

Why Yelp is the Digg of local

The other day, I tweeted “I should be able to ban anyone who rates Applebee’s 4* from ever influencing a Yelp result for me.” That sentiment touched a nerve among my followers. Shervin Pishevar of Menlo Ventures coined it ” The Agrawal-Applebee Law”.

VCs are feeling super confident after a dismal 2011, survey says

In the first quarter of 2012, investor confidence rose to the highest point it’s been in more than a year. The latest Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index — which measures how much statup investing confidence VCs have — shows a significant jump in confidence over the fourth quarter of 2011.

Square

12 companies getting local right for small businesses

I’ve spent much of the last year talking about how the sites small businesses rely on to advertise and promote themselves — think Yelp and Groupon — are failing them. In fact, helping small businesses at the local level is extremely challenging for technology companies, for the following reasons: