October brought the incredibly-entertaining but well-intentioned Snapshot Feature. Today, we have the debut of "About This Business," Yelp's latest response to its oft-publicized shortcomings. The release describes it as a "free feature that allows small business owners to describe their business to prospective customers in their own words." In other words, business owners can create an account and supply innocuous info (specialties, history, etc.) which show up on a separate tabbed page. See, Danny Coyle's likes it.
For business owners, given the way it's safely tucked away and controlled, it's unlikely that the new mini-platform will (or can) have much of an impact against negative reviews. Maybe a business will share some standard ad copy, but it's more fluff than not; we'll compare it to bringing a knife to a gun fight.
For Yelp though, it's a smart idea. Not only does it act as a counter to one of the more common complaints against Yelp—that businesses don't have a voice—but like a gateway drug, we're betting it will prompt more business owners to go online and start (initially free) accounts. This probably could lead to more opportunities for those ethically-questionable sponsorship pitches that Yelp salespeople have been known to give. And the only way to get rid of those bad reviews? Since you're online already, just go ahead and buy a sponsorship to move a five-star review to the top, of course.
· Yelp Wanted: Business Owners Now Have a Say, Too [~ELA~]
· Yelp Launches 'About This Business' [PR Newswire]
· Yelp Rolls Out "Snapshot" Feature, Entertainment Ensues [~ESF~]