In Yelp we trust

The people of San Francisco like to be heard.

If you want to find out insider information about a salon, a restaurant or even a dentist, just visit to read the first-person accounts of those who have gone before.

Yes, Yelp has been around for a while (since 2004 to be exact), but I’ve never seen it so utilized and relied on as it is here in San Francisco.  These days, I’ve become accustomed to checking out the Yelp reviews of a restaurant before even looking at the restaurant’s menu.

We didn’t seem to go to Yelp as a resource in Orlando, and perhaps that was because it wasn’t full of recent reviews when we needed them.  A review site is only as good as its contributors, and the wordy people of San Francisco not only arm me with insider information every single visit, but they also regularly entertain me.

Yelp helped me to identify a wine country tour provider, which I used and thoroughly enjoyed with my best Florida girlfriends during their visit.  Yelp helped me to identify a moderate weekend hike for Dave and me last month, where we encountered an awesome picnic spot. Yelp also helped me to select nine different evening entertainment options for my Mom and me to partake in during her upcoming visit. (She hasn’t selected her top choice yet!)

I’ve always been someone who answers follow-up surveys sent by companies, fills out hotel comment cards and leaves a customer review for any online purchase I make, so clearly the popularity of Yelp here would be right up my alley.

As a member, you can “check in” to establishments real-time, research pictures from past festivals and events to get an idea of what to expect, and even search for clusters of businesses on a movable map.  As a business owner, you can comment on the reviews your patrons make to ensure follow up is always provided, and monitor what people think about your product and/or service.

What a useful site.

People think that others are only driven to fill out a comment card or leave a review when they have something bad to report.  I disagree.  According to the folks at Yelp, about 67 percent of the ratings given on the site include the highest five- or four-star awards, while the rest are nearly evenly distributed across the other stars.

That means people just like sharing their experiences.  Well, so do I.

Next time you find yourself reading online reviews, stop and think, “Do I ever give back to the online community with my own thoughts and feedback?”

If not, why not?

Maybe you could help a new Lady in the City like me to plan the perfect date-night or the perfect weekend agenda for a visitor from across the country…

Look at those thousands of businesses, just waiting to be reviewed.
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