It was in October 2004 when a Yelper calling himself “Jon B.” wrote the very first review on the site, reviewing San Francisco business Kabuki Springs & Spa. About six years later, on December 20, 2010, the first Yelp mobile review was written, by an Iowa City man calling himself “Chad S.” As for the milestone 100 millionth review, that came from Yelp Elite member “Evelyn K.,” who reviewed Bayside, NY public park Crocheron Park.
As for other fascinating statistics cited as Yelp celebrated the new milestone, about 80 percent of all reviews on the site are positive, meaning three stars or higher. Businesses who have more than 1,000 reviews on the site have an average rating of around 4 stars. This suggests that most people use Yelp to share positive experiences, as opposed to negative ones that could damage a business’ reputation.
“For nearly twelve years, consumers have been coming to Yelp to find great local businesses,” said Yelp CEO and co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman in a statement. “We attribute much of our success to the passionate Yelp communities around the globe. These folks meet both on and offline, and share their opinions on Yelp, helping others in their communities make informed spending decisions.”
Looking back on Yelp’s 11-plus years Stoppelman also told the Washington Post that he wasn’t sure at first that people would want to take to the Internet to write reviews “for the heck of it.” Time, however, has proved him wrong, as the company’s business is now worth a whopping $1.6 billion. That certainly isn’t because people are hesitant to write online reviews for businesses they patronize, though sometimes, things aren’t exactly smooth between Yelp and business owners.
The Post special feature on Yelp and Stoppelman stressed that businesses tend to be mixed when it comes to their opinion on the company and what it can do for them. There are many that enjoy and appreciate the additional visibility, while there are also many others that believe the site manipulates results, even if there has been no statistical evidence or government-backed claim that suggests that is the case. Then there’s the recent scandal where a former Yelp employee wrote a sarcastic, scathing letter to Stoppelman on an online blog post, causing her to be fired from her job. But even with those concerns, Yelp admits that it comes with the territory.
“Given (the controversial letter to Stoppelman), it never feels good to hear that somebody’s experience or perspective is counter to that,” Yelp senior vice president of sales Erica Galos Alioto told the Post. “That being said, it’s also important to recognize that you can’t keep 100 percent of people happy all the time — that’s something we tell business owners as well.”