Yelp an Assessment of Customer Satisfaction
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Yelp an Assessment of Customer Satisfaction

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A marketing research report on Yelp that I completed for my market research class. Prepare for graphs and numbers!

A marketing research report on Yelp that I completed for my market research class. Prepare for graphs and numbers!

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    Yelp an Assessment of Customer Satisfaction Yelp an Assessment of Customer Satisfaction Document Transcript

    • 5/11/2009<br /> Sunny Mui | Ashley Hall | Jessika Hix | Rachel Allen<br />Prepared for YelpAn Assessment of Customer SatisfactionMarketing 632 | Professor Wang<br />Contents<br /> TOC o "1-3" h z u Managerial Summary PAGEREF _Toc229765462 h 2<br />Research Purpose PAGEREF _Toc229765463 h 3<br />Research Problem PAGEREF _Toc229765464 h 3<br />Research Questions PAGEREF _Toc229765465 h 3<br />Research Users PAGEREF _Toc229765466 h 3<br />Secondary Exploratory Research PAGEREF _Toc229765467 h 3<br />Study Background PAGEREF _Toc229765468 h 3<br />Key Success Factors PAGEREF _Toc229765469 h 3<br />Qualitative Exploratory Research PAGEREF _Toc229765470 h 4<br />Key Findings PAGEREF _Toc229765471 h 4<br />Research Design and Methodology PAGEREF _Toc229765472 h 5<br />Questionnaire Design PAGEREF _Toc229765473 h 5<br />Sampling Plan PAGEREF _Toc229765474 h 5<br />Data Collection and Data Entry PAGEREF _Toc229765475 h 6<br />Analysis PAGEREF _Toc229765476 h 6<br />Sample Composition PAGEREF _Toc229765477 h 6<br />Do Customers Trust Reviews on Yelp? PAGEREF _Toc229765478 h 7<br />Do Customers Find Reviews on Yelp Accurate and Reliable? PAGEREF _Toc229765479 h 7<br />Do Customers Find Yelp’s Features Useful in Maintaining the Quality of Reviews? PAGEREF _Toc229765480 h 7<br />Do Customers Think Yelp Does Enough to Ensure Review Quality? PAGEREF _Toc229765481 h 8<br />Are Customers Satisfied with Yelp? PAGEREF _Toc229765482 h 8<br />Recommendations PAGEREF _Toc229765483 h 9<br />Management Recommendations PAGEREF _Toc229765484 h 9<br />Project Limitations and Problems PAGEREF _Toc229765485 h 10<br />Future Project Recommendations PAGEREF _Toc229765486 h 10<br />Figures and Tables PAGEREF _Toc229765487 h 11<br />Appendix A: Questionnaire PAGEREF _Toc229765488 h 27<br />Appendix B: Codebook PAGEREF _Toc229765489 h 30<br />Appendix C: Additional Technical and Research Data PAGEREF _Toc229765490 h 34<br />Managerial Summary<br />Yelp.com is an increasingly popular website that allows every member to have their opinion heard by millions of readers. After coming under media scrutiny for questionable advertising tactics, we wondered if customers were satisfied with the quality of reviews that Yelp presents. We specifically wanted to find out if customers trusted reviews on Yelp, found them accurate and reliable, found Yelp’s features useful in maintaining the quality of reviews and if Yelp does enough to ensure review quality.<br />We surveyed 103 students at San Francisco State University during April 2009. In the interest of cost, convenience, and feasibility, we are unable to define our population as every Yelp user. Thus, we choose to focus on the most feasible and relevant large population of Yelp users for our research. We asked them questions regarding yelp usage, membership status, perception of review reliability and bias, the Yelp Elite program, importance of different features and demographics. <br />After conducting the surveys, we noticed definite trends in the data. When asked if reviews on Yelp were unbiased, the average respondent said that that statement was untrue. We also determined that only 20 percent of people surveyed had ever heard of the Yelp Elite program.<br />In the end, we determined that there are steps which Yelp could take to increase their trustworthiness among users. We believe that promoting Yelp membership more aggressively will help raise awareness of features and functions of Yelp that ensure review reliability. Raise awareness and emphasize importance of Yelp features that promote review quality, such as the compliment system and public profiles. After learning that the Yelp Elite program is largely unknown outside, we suggest that they market the Yelp Elite program more effectively to raise awareness, emphasize importance, and create positive perception of Elite program. Finally, we suggest that the Yelp marketing team promotes Yelp as platform for real people to express exactly what they feel to change the negative perception of bias to positive image of unfiltered democratic expression. <br />Research Purpose<br />To assess how satisfied Yelp users are with the quality of reviews<br />Provide valuable information to help Yelp management improve the quality of reviews<br />To improve review content, thus increase satisfaction and bring more traffic to the site<br />Research Problem<br />Are Yelp customers satisfied with the quality of reviews?<br />Research Questions<br />Are customers satisfied with Yelp? Do customers trust reviews on Yelp? Do customers find reviews on Yelp accurate and reliable? Do customers find Yelp’s features useful in maintaining the quality of reviews? Do customers think Yelp does enough to ensure review quality?<br />Research Users<br />Yelp management and the Yelp marketing team.<br />Secondary Exploratory Research<br />Study Background<br />Recent Controversy<br />Recent negative press in East Bay Express about unfair practices regarding movement and suppression of both negative and positive reviews, triggering media exposure<br />Inaccurate reviews written by disgruntled customers<br />Inability of business owner to respond to allegations by reviewers<br />Business model<br />User generated reviews provide content that drive visitors and traffic to the site; sponsors and advertisers pay to advertise to audience<br />Still surviving on venture capital financing, not yet profitable<br />Competitive landscape<br />Major competitors: Citysearch, Zagat, and Yahoo! Local.<br />Minor competitors: Insider Pages, UrbanSpoon, Chowhound, Judy’s Book, AT&T Yellowpages, BooRah<br />Yelp is growing at a much faster rate than its competitors<br />Key Success Factors<br />Community support<br />Yelp Elite – 10/90 rule of the internet, 10% of your users create 90% of the content. Specially chosen users based on number of reviews, quality of writing, personality, and trust. Only non-anonymous people using their real names and real photos. <br />Elites are reviewers with highest credibility—Yelp method of managing disgruntled people who create an account to write one bad review or fake reviews.<br />Compliment voting system for reviews – you can rate reviews funny, useful, or cool<br />Social networking features<br />Usability<br />User friendly interface – At top of front page you have a large search bar where you type what you’re looking for--by keyword, business name, category, or location<br />Ability to filter reviews by different criteria – rating, date, useful, cool, funny, Elite<br />Integration with other technologies<br />Mobile functionality – Yelp mobile site for mobile devices and a Yelp app for the iPhone<br />Qualitative Exploratory Research<br />We used in-depth interviews of three occasional Yelp users and one Yelp Elite frequent user as exploratory research. The three occasional users were similar in viewpoints, while the Yelp Elite member often differed. <br />Key Findings<br />Frequency of Yelp Use<br />3 of 4 people interviewed said that they check Yelp on an occasional basis<br />Yelp Elite member checks site every day and writes for Yelp weekly<br />Perception of Review Reliability<br />Power in numbers: having many reviewers with consistent opinions on a business shows more trustworthiness than one member with a bad review. Said one interview subject, “I always take into consideration that person could just be a grumpy or have bad taste.”<br />Interviewees are more likely to post a review of a bad experience than a good one “in hopes that no one else would have to go through what [they] did.” Therefore, average ratings may be weighed down by bad reviews.<br />Interviewees generally trust that businesses are not giving themselves fake reviews, but acknowledge that it is a possibility. One interview subject said that he “[knew] that some businesses try and hype up their business to attract customers,” while another said that “places with high quality products don’t need to fix their reviews.”<br />Word of mouth is more effective than internet reviews.<br />Yelp Elite interviewee often agrees with reviews due to youthful Yelp demographic, “people you can relate to.” She trusts Yelp Elite members more than regular members. <br />Social Networking Aspect of Yelp<br />Yelp Elite member has a public profile and pictures uploaded to Yelp. She gets solicited by businesses who would like her to review their restaurant because public profiles.<br />Yelp Elite member is social with other Yelp members off-line, attending sponsored parties with “bands, free food, open bar, coupons, and entertainment.”<br />Other interviewees do not utilize customization capability on their own profile. <br />Differing opinions on public profiles: Says one interviewee, “It doesn’t matter to me seeing their picture or not, I just want to see what they have to say” while another said “seeing their profile makes [them] feel a little more trustworthy because they’ve taken the time to establish their presence.”<br />Rating Other Reviews<br />Yelp Elite member stated that the ability to rate reviews is “useful [and] encourages people to write more.”<br />Occasional Yelp users had never rated another review.<br />Research Design and Methodology<br />Questionnaire Design<br />When designing our survey, we were careful to ask questions that would address our research objectives. Our initial survey asked questions about yelp usage, membership status, perception of review reliability and bias, the Yelp Elite program, importance of different features and respondent demographics. <br />After conducting in-depth interviews, it was apparent that some of the survey questions needed to be edited. After realizing that the Yelp Elite program seemed to have low awareness, the survey was revised to include more detailed questions about the Yelp Elite program. We also determined that some of the demographic questions were unnecessary, so we kept only those about age, gender, place of residence and class level.<br />After pretesting the survey, it was determined that it was too long. Some of the less relevant questions (such as those about review humor and conciseness) were moved to a Likert Scale. By grouping several questions into Likert Scales, the survey was very thorough without taking a lot of time to complete. Though the final survey is 38 questions, it fit in an approximate 5-minute time frame. <br />Sampling Plan<br />Our population consists of every current SFSU student who is a user or who has used Yelp before. In the interest of cost, convenience, and feasibility, we are unable to define our population as every Yelp user. Thus, we choose to focus on the most feasible and relevant large population of Yelp users for our research. Our sample size consisted of 103 respondents.<br />Due to the unavailability of a complete listing of students for our sampling purposes, the only available sampling method for our research is non-probability sampling. We chose to implement the convenience sampling method, as it allowed for rapid survey administration, minimum difficulties, and low cost. It also allowed us to obtain a reasonable general opinion on Yelp review quality.<br />We surveyed students at various times of day, on different days, at different high traffic locations on the SFSU campus. These locations included the Cesar Chavez Student Center (inside and outside), Malcolm X Plaza, the Quad, and in the general area of Café Rosso.<br />There is a possibility of systematic exclusion of people from our sample frame due to the convenience sampling method. This is because we are only able to survey the people who are in the specified locations at those specific times. Also, the choice of respondents is not truly random, with no known probability of selection. This implies a bias towards students who choose to eat on campus or linger on campus around these areas instead of going home after classes. <br />Data Collection and Data Entry<br />Team members personally collected the data individually by distributing self-administered surveys, waiting nearby for the surveys to be completed, then picking them up. We approached each potential survey respondent with the same basic introduction following this guideline:<br />“Hello, my name is ____. I am a marketing student at SFSU and I am conducting a survey for a team project in my Marketing Research class. This survey is on satisfaction with Yelp review trustworthiness. This survey is anonymous and will only take a few minutes. Is now a good time? Have you used Yelp before?”<br />We chose self-administered surveys for their good response rates, so that respondents can go at their own pace, for deployment speed, and for ease of administration. Team members were available in case any clarifications were needed for survey questions, mitigating respondent confusion to any unclear questions. <br />One difficulty was the non-response in the section regarding the Yelp Elite program. Only 20% of our survey respondents were able to answer the questions in this section—the rest were unaware of the Yelp Elite program. We handled this difficulty by actually incorporating this into our analysis, that one problem is the low awareness of the Yelp Elite program. This non-response problem may create an upward bias, since the people most likely to be aware of the program are also more likely to be involved with it—especially in a low awareness environment.<br />Other than that, the overall response rate for every question was fairly high. The survey was typically completed in about five minutes by respondents, with total data collection taking one week.<br />Analysis<br />Sample Composition<br />Our sample was more female than male, a majority of senior class level students, almost all originally from California, and mostly in the age group 20-24. For detailed and complete numbers on our sample demographics, see Table 8.<br />Our sample composition categorized by Yelp related information was mostly Yelp non-members with a majority visiting Yelp 1-3 times in one month. Most of our respondents had never written a review before or used Yelp Mobile. Most of our respondents used Yelp for restaurant reviews. A plurality of respondents used other review sources not listed on the survey, with “Citysearch” coming in second in percentage after “Other”. For detailed and complete numbers on our sample composition, refer to Table 9.<br />Some interesting data was that that Yelp non-members mostly visited Yelp 7 times or less a month while most Yelp members visited Yelp 7 times or more in a month. For complete percentages and details, see Figures 21-22.<br />Another interesting fact was a similar relationship between those who had written reviews before on Yelp and those who had never written reviews on Yelp. A majority (58%)of those who had never written a review before visited Yelp 1 to 3 times a month while the largest category for those who had written a review before was 4 to 7 visits a month (45%). For complete percentages and details, see Figures 23-24.<br />Do Customers Trust Reviews on Yelp?<br />We asked respondents to rate the statement “reviews on Yelp are unbiased,” on a scale of 1 to 7 with 1 corresponding to “not true at all” and 7 corresponding to “extremely true”. As seen in Figure 1, the mean of responses (2.70) is between “untrue” (2) and “somewhat untrue” (3), though leaning towards “somewhat untrue”. The standard deviation (1.545), found in Table 3, is reasonable as well. Thus most respondents feel reviews are somewhat biased.<br />We also asked respondents to rate whether reviews on Yelp.com help them make decisions. Figure 2 shows our results, with the mean of the responses (5.24) giving a value close to “somewhat true” (5). The standard deviation (1.499), found in Table 3, is also reasonable, showing a concentration of respondents with or near this belief. We conclude that even though respondents felt Yelp’s reviews are somewhat biased, representing an issue of trust, they still use the reviews to help them make decisions. This implies respondents at least somewhat trust the reviews on Yelp. This is still a problem, since users do not fully trust the reviews on Yelp.<br />An interesting pattern is the relationship between visit frequency and the degree to which respondents agreed to the statement, “reviews on Yelp.com help me make decisions”. There were 5 monthly visit frequencies: 0, 1 to 3, 4 to 7, 8 to 12, and 12+. In Figures 11-15, the most significant pattern of association is the usefulness of Yelp in decision increasing with increased respondent visit frequency. The “true” category increases very obviously with each movement up the visit frequency categories, while the untrue, neutral, and other related categories decrease. This points to a positive relationship between visit frequency and the amount of trust a user has in using reviews to make decisions.<br />Do Customers Find Reviews on Yelp Accurate and Reliable?<br />We asked respondents to rate on a scale from 1 to 7 with 1 being “not true at all” and 7 being “extremely true,” the statement “there is a system in place to ensure reliability of reviews on yelp.com.” Our results are in Figure 3, with a mean (3.80) that is close to “neither true or untrue” (4). The standard deviation found in Table 3 was not very high (1.376), meaning that most respondents felt neutral about Yelp’s systems to ensure review reliability, with a very slight skew towards negative perceptions. Respondents feel neither clearly positive nor negative towards this, which is problematic. Yelp does have systems to help ensure reliability of reviews, yet customers do not perceive anything positive about Yelp’s review reliability.<br />Figure 1 is also relevant this research question. In Figure 1, the overall conclusion indicates that respondents believe there is bias in the reviews on Yelp, signaling a problem with accuracy and reliability. <br />Figure 4 addresses customer’s beliefs on Yelp.com being the best website for reliable business reviews. The mean (4.55) value is between “neither true or untrue” (4) and “somewhat true” (5). Yet, the standard deviation from Table 3 (1.693) is relatively high, with responses spread from “somewhat untrue” to “extremely true.”This shows that there were many respondents who gave an answer in this range, while not necessarily staying around the mean. <br />Do Customers Find Yelp’s Features Useful in Maintaining the Quality of Reviews?<br />When assessing if customers find Yelp features useful in maintaining the quality of reviews, the Yelp Elite program was highlighted as an important control method for reviews Figure 5 has the results of whether people are aware of the Yelp Elite program or not. This pie chart depicts a very low percentage of respondents (20%) who are aware of the program. The Yelp Elite program was designed to ensure quality among reviews, and is one of the key success factors of Yelp. Despite its intended purpose, a low proportion of our respondents were aware of this feature. <br /> Figure 6 corresponds to the results for respondents aware of the Yelp Elite program in rating the importance of the Yelp Elite program. The mean (3.37) is at a level somewhat close to “somewhat unimportant” (3). The mean is between the “somewhat unimportant” level and the “neither important or unimportant” (4). Based on Figure 6, a plurality of respondents think that the Yelp Elite program is “somewhat important” pertaining to the web site as a whole. The chart also shows a lot of variance in answers, with the second most marked opinions being “extremely unimportant”(1) and “somewhat important.”(5) Table 4 highlights this high variance of answers with the relatively high standard deviation value (1.674).This information shows conflicting beliefs about the importance of the Yelp Elite program, though a majority of respondents did not hold strongly positive beliefs about the Yelp Elite program. This points to a need for better information and understanding of the benefits of the Yelp Elite program.<br />Do Customers Think Yelp Does Enough to Ensure Review Quality?<br />Figure 7 considers the compliment system and if it ensures that the most trustworthy reviews are being presented. The mean value (4.23) was close to the value for “neither true or untrue” (4). The majority of respondents are concentrated in the “somewhat true” to “neutral” region on this question. The low standard deviation (1.152) indicates this concentration in an overall neutral region. Thus, Yelp users do not really hold an opinion on whether Yelp’s compliment system does enough to help ensure review quality. This could possibly point to a lack of information concerning the compliment system. <br />Reinforcing this is the mean value, found in Table 5, of the importance of the compliment system. The mean value (4.45) was between neutral (4) and somewhat true (5), paralleling the results from the question asking about the compliment system’s performance. This neutrality of opinion needs to be changed, so that users can find the Yelp’s compliment system important and useful.<br />Another reviewed aspect of whether customers think Yelp does enough to ensure review quality is in Figure 8. This figure charts the data resulting from the rating of the statement “public profiles make users more trustworthy”. The mean value (4.08) is very close to “neither true or untrue” (4). Standard deviation (1.4), from Table 3, is reasonable, with a focused concentration of answers in the “neither true or untrue” response category. This means that, overall, respondents hold no feelings towards the role of public profiles in creating trust with users—which in turn creates more trust in user review quality.<br />For importance perceptions of the public profiles, Figure 9 shows a distribution concentrated around the “neither important or unimportant” to “somewhat important” responses. The mean value (4.08) is placed very close to “neither important or unimportant”(4), reinforcing the neutral feelings of the users towards the role of public profiles. Users do not clearly or strongly see the importance of public profiles on Yelp.<br />Are Customers Satisfied with Yelp?<br />Figure 10 is a direct measure of customers’ satisfaction with Yelp. The statement being rated was “I am satisfied with the service that Yelp provides”, and of course, Yelp’s main service is providing reviews. There is very little variation in respondents’ answers, with a low standard deviation (1.302). The responses are concentrated around “true”, with “true” composing a plurality of 40 percent of responses, with full percentages for all responses in Table 6. The mean value (5.31) is positioned at a value between “somewhat true” (5) and “true” (6). We conducted a one sample T-Test in Table 7 to verify these results as being positive (>4), which we verified as significant (p=.000). This means that customers are at least somewhat satisfied with Yelp’s services, though there is still much room for improvement until customers are completely satisfied. Staying at this level of satisfaction will be dangerous for Yelp, easily allowing for competitors to poach market share from Yelp.<br />Notably, there appears to be a associative relationship between visit frequency and satisfaction, as indicated by agreement with the statement, “I am satisfied with the service that Yelp.com provides”. In Figures 16-20, this relationship is made apparent as the true (“extremely true”, “true”, “somewhat true”) categories increase with increased visit frequency while the untrue and neutral (“neither true or untrue”, “somewhat untrue”, “untrue”, “not true at all”) categories decrease. This implies that a more frequent Yelp user will likely be associated a higher satisfaction.<br />Recommendations<br />Management Recommendations<br />Market the Yelp Elite program more effectively to raise awareness, emphasize importance, and create positive perception of Elite program. As seen in Figure 5, only 20 percent of respondents were aware of the Yelp Elite program. These Yelp Elite members represent some of the best and most prolific review writers, yet 80 percent of our respondents were unaware of their importance.<br />Market Yelp as platform for real people to express exactly what they feel; change negative perception of bias to positive image of unfiltered democratic expression. Figure 1 shows the degree to which respondents thought that reviews on Yelp were biased. The word ‘bias’ has negative connotations and Yelp needs to work to turn that around. Yelp should try to offset the perceptions of bias in readers by embracing the uniqueness of review writers. The concept of ‘Yelpitude’ is working towards achieving this goal, but we believe that the term is not yet well known outside of the Yelp community.<br />Raise awareness and emphasize importance of Yelp features that promote review quality, such as the compliment system and public profiles. <br />Promote Yelp membership more aggressively to help increase awareness of features. As seen in Chart 2, members of yelp agree more with the statement that Yelp is ‘the most reliable source for business reviews’ than non-members do. Members seem to have a better understanding of the usage of the site and importance of features than non-members do.<br />Project Limitations and Problems<br />By using a non-probability sampling method, we were not able to get a truly random sample. By limiting ourselves to only sampling college students, our results may have been different than if we had interviewed older generations or different subcultures. Students tend to be more technologically savvy than other groups in the population, so we may have missed vital perceptions of Yelp usage by only focusing on students. Another of using a non-probability sampling method is that significance tests don't give accurate results because the sample is not truly random.<br />One problem that we didn’t anticipate was the lack of awareness of the Yelp Elite program. Only 20 percent of respondents had heard of the program (see Figure 5) so we were not able to gather relevant data on the topic. In the survey, we asked is respondents were aware of the Yelp Elite program. If the answer was ‘yes,’ they were prompted to answer 5 more questions about Yelp Elite. If they were not aware of the program, they were told the skip the next 5 questions. However, there was a question in the Likert Scale section regarding perceived importance of the Yelp Elite program. We should have specified that respondents should skip this problem if they weren’t familiar with the program. People may have guessed for this question instead of providing accurate answers, thus giving us inaccurate results on the topic.<br />We believe that more questions in the ‘performance’ section of the survey could have been added. We were able to draw conclusions from the data we collected, but perhaps we could have uncovered more data and useful information with more questions. <br />Future Project Recommendations<br />We would recommend that Yelp attempt to market their Yelp Elite Program in order to create more awareness and place more emphasis on this important program so more people will see this in a positive light.  Due to the lack of awareness of this program which we have discovered through our research, we feel if Yelp were to raise the awareness it may help to improve the reliability and trustworthiness of their website compare to their competitors.  By emphasizing the important features on their site that promote review quality and reliability, Yelp may be able to change the perception of bias people currently have about the reviews.  Also, if Yelp were to increase the knowledge people have about their compliment system and public profiles, this would also immensely improve the trustworthiness of their site.  Figures and Tables<br />Figure 1<br />Figure 2<br />Figure 3<br />Figure 4<br />Figure 5<br />Figure 6 <br />Figure 7<br />Figure 8<br />Figure 9<br />Figure 10<br />Figures 11-15<br />Figures 16-20<br />Figure 21-22<br />Figure 23-24<br />Table 1<br />One-Sample StatisticsNMeanStd. Deviationreviews on yelp.com are unbiased972.731.551reviews on yelp.com help me make decisions975.161.539<br />Table 2<br />Group Statisticsare you a member of yelp.com?NMeanStd. Deviationyelp.com is the best web site for reliable business reviewsyes215.431.326no754.241.707<br />Table 3<br />Descriptive Statistics<br /> NMeanStd. Deviationthe compliment system helps ensure that the most trustworthy reviews are presented904.231.152there is a system in place to ensure reliability of reviews on yelp.com903.801.376reviews on yelp.com are unbiased932.701.545public profiles make users more trustworthy914.081.400reviews on yelp.com help me make decisions935.241.499reviews on yelp.com are useful925.401.351yelp is user friendly935.491.256i am satisified with the service that yelp.com provides935.311.302yelp.com is the best web site for reliable business reviews924.551.693Valid N (listwise)85 <br />Table 4<br />One-Sample Statistics<br /> NMeanStd. DeviationStd. Error Meanyelp elite program193.371.674.384<br />Table 5<br />Descriptive Statistics<br /> NMeanStd. Deviationhumor in reviews933.811.548helpfullness of reviews935.661.536compliment system934.451.632yelp elite program873.001.486public profiles934.081.505ability to flag reviews914.651.493terms of service enforecement by yelp.com staff914.361.449ability for owners to respond to reviews934.701.593ability to sort reviews934.701.516ability to "favorite" reviews924.181.766ability to "favorite" users933.751.626number of reviews for each business935.131.446Valid N (listwise)84 <br />Table 6<br />i am satisified with the service that yelp.com provides<br /> FrequencyPercentValid PercentCumulative PercentValidnot true at all22.12.22.2 untrue22.12.24.3 somewhat untrue55.35.49.7 neither true or untrue99.59.719.4 somewhat true2526.326.946.2 true3840.040.987.1 extremely true1212.612.9100.0 Total9397.9100.0 MissingSystem22.1 Total95100.0 <br />Table 7<br />One-Sample Test<br /> Test Value = 4 Sig. (2-tailed)Mean Difference95% Confidence Interval of the Difference LowerUpperi am satisified with the service that yelp.com provides.0001.3121.041.58<br />Table 8<br />Respondent DemographicsSex Female59.6%Male40.4%  Class Level Freshman9.7%Sophomore10.8%Junior23.7%Senior55.9%  Original Place of Residence California94.7%Out of State3.2%International2.1%  Age 19 and Under12.8%20 to 2471.3%25 to 2912.8%30 to 352.1%35 and over1.1%<br />Table 9<br />Respondent Composition Regarding YelpYelp Members No76.8%Yes23.2%  Monthly Visit Frequency 06.3%1 to 350.5%4 to 727.4%8 to 1210.5%12+5.3%  Written a Review On Yelp Before No78.9%Yes21.1%  Yelp Mobile User No82.1%Yes17.9%  What Respondents Are Most Likely to Use Yelp For Restaurants84.9%Bars/Clubs9.7%Auto Services1.1%Health Services1.1%Retail Stores3.2%  Other Review Sources Used by Respondents News17.0%Yahoo13.0%Zagat12.0%Citysearch20.0%Other38.0%<br />Appendix A: Questionnaire<br />Hello. I am doing a project in Marketing 632, a Marketing Research class. I am studying the trustworthiness of Yelp.com, a popular business review website. Your responses on this survey will be very helpful in completing my research. <br />Please circle one response for the following questions.<br />Have you ever visited Yelp.com?<br />Yes No<br />Are you a member of Yelp.com?<br />Yes No<br />How often do you visit Yelp.com in a month?<br />0<br />1-3<br />4-7<br />8-12<br />12+<br />Have you ever written a review on Yelp.com?<br />Yes No<br />Do you use Yelp on your mobile device?<br />Yes No<br />What type of business are you most likely to read reviews about? <br />Restaurants<br />Bars/Clubs<br />Auto Services<br />Health Services<br />Retail Stores<br />Other <br />What other review sources do you use to learn more about a business? Circle all that apply:<br />Newspapers<br />Yahoo Local<br />Zagat books or website<br />Citysearch<br />Other<br />The next group of questions is about the ‘Yelp Elite’ program. <br />Are you aware of the Yelp Elite program? If you are not, please skip questions 9-13.<br />Yes No<br />Are you a Yelp Elite member?<br />Yes No<br /> Complete disagreeCompletely agreeI trust reviews written by non-Yelp Elite members1234567Reviews written by Yelp Elite members are more concise1234567Reviews written by Yelp Elite members are more trustworthy1234567I would take advice from a Yelp Elite member over another member1234567<br />If you are familiar with the Yelp Elite program, please rate on a scale of 1 to 7 how much you agree with the following statements are with 1 being completely disagree and 7 being completely agree. Circle one number for each question.<br />Please rate on a scale of 1 to 7 how true the following statements are with 1 being not true at all and 7 being very true. Circle one number for each question. <br />Not true at allExtremely trueThe compliment system helps ensure that the most trustworthy reviews are presented1234567There is a system in place to ensure reliability of reviews on Yelp.com1234567Reviews on Yelp.com are unbiased1234567Public profiles make users more trustworthy1234567Reviews on Yelp.com help me make decisions1234567Reviews on Yelp.com are useful1234567Yelp is user friendly1234567I am satisfied with the service that Yelp.com provides1234567Yelp.com is the best web site for reliable business reviews1234567<br />Please rate on a scale of 1 to 7 how important the following features are to you in regards to review quality with 1 extremely unimportant and 7 being extremely important. Circle one number for each question. <br />Extremely unimportantExtremely important23.Humor in reviews123456724.Helpfulness of reviews123456725.Compliment system123456726.Yelp elite program123456727.Public profiles123456728.Ability to flag reviews123456729.Terms of Service enforcement by Yelp.com staff123456730.Ability for business owners to respond to reviews123456731.Ability to sort reviews123456732.Ability to "favorite" reviews123456733.Ability to "favorite" users123456734.Numbers of reviews for each business1234567<br />There are only a few easy questions left. It will only take a minute so please stay with me. <br />For the next set of questions, please circle the answer that best describes you.<br />Age:<br />19 and under<br />20-24<br />25-29<br />30-34<br />35 and over<br />Class Level:<br />Freshman<br />Sophomore<br />Junior<br />Senior<br />Original Place of Residence:<br />California<br />Out of State<br />International<br />Gender:<br />Male <br />Female<br />Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. <br />Appendix B: Codebook<br />Question 1: Have you ever visited Yelp.com<br />Yes=1No=0<br />Question 2: Are you a member of Yelp.com<br />Yes=1No=0<br />Question 3: How often do you visit Yelp.com in a month?<br />0=1<br />1-3=2<br />4-7=3<br />8-12=4<br />12+=5<br />Question 4 : Have you ever written a review on Yelp.com<br />Yes= 1No=0<br />Question 5: Do you use Yelp on your mobile device? <br />Yes=1No=0<br />Question 6: What type of business are you most likely to read reviews about?<br />Restaurants=1 <br />Bars/Clubs=2<br />Auto Services=3<br />Health Services=4<br />Retail Stores=5<br />Other=6<br /> Question 7: What other review sources do you use to learn more about a business? Circle all that apply: <br />If circled, Yes=1; If left blank, No=0<br />Question 8: Are you aware of the Yelp Elite Program? <br />Yes=1No=0<br />Question 9: Are you a Yelp Elite member?<br />Yes=1No=0<br />Questions 10-13: If familiar with the Yelp Elite Program, please rate on a scale of 1 to 7 how much you agree with the following statements with 1 being completely disagree and 7 being completely agree. <br />1=1: Completely disagree<br /> 2=2: Disagree<br />3=3: Somewhat disagree<br />4=4: Neither agree nor disagree<br />5=5: Somewhat agree<br />6=6: Agree<br />7=7: Completely agree<br />10. I trust reviews written by non-Yelp Elite Members. <br />11. Reviews written by Yelp Elite members are more concise <br />12. Reviews written by Yelp Elite members are more trustworthy<br />13. I would take advice form a Yelp Elite member over another member<br />Questions 14-22: Please rate on a scale of 1 to 7 how true the following statements are with 1 being not true at all and 7 being very true. Circle one number for each question. <br />1=1: Not true at all<br />2=2: Untrue<br />3=3: Somewhat untrue<br />4=4: Neither true or untrue<br />5=5: Somewhat true<br />6=6: True<br />7=7: Extremely true<br />14. The compliment system helps ensure that the most trustworthy reviews are presented<br />15. There is a system in place to ensure reliability of reviews on Yelp.com<br />16. Reviews on Yelp.com are unbiased<br />17. Public profiles make users more trustworthy<br />18. Reviews on Yelp.com help me make decisions<br />19. Reviews on Yelp.com are useful <br />20. Yelp is user friendly<br />21. I am satisfied with the service that Yelp.com provides<br />22. Yelp.com is the best website for reliable business reviews<br />Questions 23-34: Please rate on a scale of 1 to 7 how important the following features are to you in regards to review quality with 1 extremely unimportant and 7 being extremely important. Circle one number for each question. <br />1=1: Extremely unimportant<br />2=2: Unimportant<br />3=3: Somewhat unimportant<br />4=4: Neither important or unimportant<br />5=5: Somewhat Important<br />6=6: Important<br />7=7: Extremely Important<br /> 23. Humor in reviews<br />24. Helpfulness of reviews<br />25. Compliment system <br />26. Yelp Elite Program<br />27. Public Profiles<br />28. Ability to flag reviews<br />29. Terms of service enforcement by Yelp.com staff<br />30. Ability for business owners to respond to reviews<br />31. Ability to sort reviews<br />32. Ability to “favorite” reviews<br />33. Ability to “favorite” users<br />34. Numbers of reviews for each business<br />35. Age<br /> 1= 19 and under<br /> 2= 20-24<br /> 3= 25-29<br /> 4= 30-34<br /> 5= 35 and over<br />36. Class level<br /> 1= Freshman<br /> 2= Sophomore<br /> 3= Junior<br /> 4= Senior<br />37. Original Place of Residence:<br /> 1= California<br /> 2= Out of State<br /> 3= International<br />38. Gender<br /> Male= 1<br /> Female= 2<br />Appendix C: Additional Technical and Research Data<br />Secondary Research<br />Background<br />Founding<br />Founded by ex-Paypal employees Jeremy Stoppelmen and Russel Simmons in July 2004 in San Francisco<br />Total venture capital is over $31 million<br />Aim is to seize the estimated $100 billion local ads market<br />Extent of operations<br />Found throughout many metropolitan areas in the US<br />Also available in some areas of Canada<br />Recent expansion to UK<br />Over 4.5 million reviews written so far<br />Business model<br />User generated reviews provide content that drive visitors and traffic to the site<br />Sponsorships sold to businesses with a greater than 3 star ranking. Costs range from $200 to $2000 per month. When a business gets enough favorable reviews, a sales agent calls a business to send them a “People Love Us On Yelp!” sticker and to try to sell them a sponsorship package<br />Also sells banner advertising<br />Still surviving on venture capital financing, not yet profitable<br />Competitive landscape<br />Major competitors: Citysearch, Zagat, and Yahoo! Local.<br />Minor competitors: Insider Pages, UrbanSpoon, Chowhound, Judy’s Book, AT&T Yellowpages, BooRah<br />Yelp is growing at a much faster rate than its competitors. <br />Demographics - Popular with young adults, affluent, more educated population. <br />Controversy<br />Recent articles published in the East Bay Express about unfair practices regarding movement and suppression of both negative and positive reviews<br />Inaccurate reviews written by disgruntled customers<br />Inability of business owner to respond to allegations by reviewers<br />Key Success Factors<br />Appeal to youthful demographic<br />Quirky, offbeat site atmosphere. For example, they send you emails with humorous pop-culture oriented titles, describe an ideal Yelp user as having “Yelpitude”<br />Appealing, boldly colored site design<br />Social networking<br />Ability to add friends, have a personalized profile page, send messages, compliment others, upload pictures.<br />Can add reviews or lists as your ‘favorites’, become fans of specific review writers.<br />There are special badges you can display on your profile<br />Forum like features, you can start a ‘conversation’ on any topic<br />Community support<br />Voting (compliment) system for reviews – you can rate reviews funny, useful, or cool<br />There’s a review of the day that’s selected based on the voting system<br />“Best of” lists are composed based on user ratings of businesses<br />Information on businesses is updated and modified by users –upload your own photos of a business<br />Some Yelp users get featured on the front page<br />Yelp Elite – 10/90 rule of the internet, 10% of your users create 90% of the content. Specially chosen users based on number of reviews, quality of writing, personality, and trust. Only non-anonymous people using their real names and real photos. <br />Special perks for Yelp Elite – free stuff and invites to exclusive Elite parties and events<br />Elites are reviewers with highest credibility—Yelp method of managing disgruntled people who make an account just to write one bad review or fake reviews.<br />Usability<br />User friendly interface – At top of front page you have a large search bar where you type what you’re looking for, whether by keyword, business name, or category, and where.<br />Front page features best rated businesses organized by category<br />Can find businesses by neighborhood<br />Simplified 5 star rating system<br />Rating distribution and trend graph<br />Ability to filter reviews by different criteria – rating, date, useful, cool, funny, Elite<br />Integration with other technologies<br />Blogging integration – embed a Yelp map that shows recently reviewed spots, integration with Google maps<br />Import your contact lists from multiple email services<br />Mobile functionality – Yelp mobile site for cell phones/PDAS and a Yelp app for the iPhone<br />Yelp search bar browser integration<br />Demographics<br />Source: Quantcast.com<br />Market Share Data<br />Source: Quantcast.comSource: Compete.com<br />References<br />“Dealing with Damage from Online Critics”. New York Times: October 04, 2007. The New York Times. RDS Business Suite. Gale Cengage Learning.<br />“How Many Reviewers Should Be in the Kitchen?”. New York Times: September 7, 2008. The New York Times. RDS Business Suite. Gale Cengage Learning.<br />“The Coffee Was Lousy. The Wait Was Long”. New York Times: May 21, 2008. The New York Times. RDS Business Suite. Gale Cengage Learning.<br />“These Brands Build Community”. Adweek Online: NA , May 12, 2008. VNU eMedia, Inc. RDS Business Suite. Gale Cengage Learning. <br />Brown, Erika. “Yelp Your Heart Out”. Forbes: July 24, 2006, Vol. 178, Issue 2. Academic Search Premier.<br />Hart, Kim. “Yelp Critiques Heard and Heeded in D.C. The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: February 27, 2008. Proquest ABI Inform Global. pg D.1.<br />Kamenetz, Anya. “On the Internet, Everyone Knows You’re a Dog”. Fast Company; Dec 2008/Jan 2009; 131; ABI/INFORM Global. pg. 53.<br />O’Brien, Jeffrey M. “Effecting Business Paradigm Shifts (Through Free Food and Tequila Shots)”. Fortune. New York: July 23, 2007. Volume 156, Issue 2. Proquest ABI Inform Global. pg 88.<br />Online Traffic Comparison of Yelp.com, Zagat.com, and Citysearch.com. http://www.compete.com.<br />Online Traffic Comparison of Yelp.com, Zagat.com, and Citysearch.com. http://www.quantcast.com.<br />Richards, Kathleen. “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0”. East Bay Express. Emeryville, CA: February 18th, 2009. pg 9-14.<br />Underwood, Ryan. “Tell Us What You Really Think: Collecting Customer Feedback”. Inc; Dec 2008; 30, 12; ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry. pg. 52.<br />Vascallero, Jessica E. “Local Search Sites Draw Users’ Input”. Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition). New York, N.Y.: Mar 1, 2007. Proquest ABI Inform Global. pg. B.4.<br />Yelp Demographics of Online Visitors. http://www.quantcast.com/yelp.com#demographics.<br />