There are plenty of struggling writers in the city looking for a few extra dollars, so someone has smartly devised a plan to use their skills and to game the very legitimate review system on Yelp. As discovered by Eater, a posting on Craigslist (in New York’s writing/editing jobs section, natch) is hiring people for $25 to write “well-written” reviews on the complaint outpost website for the restaurants suffering with poor scores. In addition to having the penmanship of Frank Bruni, interested writers are required to have 50 reviews in their profile.
Yelp for Help
Did you pick your Sunday afternoon brunch spot based on Yelp reviews? If a recent study is any indication, you have plenty of company. The Guardian reports that two Berkeley economists have decided to quantify the impact of your glowing Yelp review on that Thai place down the street. The results:
Two more execs are leaving Yahoo. Call it the “Mayer effect.” Or is that the term for bringing Googlers to Yahoo? [AllThingsD]
The social media sector has LinkedIn and Yelp to thank for boosting its image by meeting their projected revenues. The rest of y’all look like chumps. [Wall Street Journal]
Hey everyone let’s freak out and say you can’t read Quora anonymously. But psst…you can. Just change your settings. Problem solved! [GigaOm]
Au revoir, piracy police. At least in France, anyway. [PaidContent]
Yes, you can go to jail for admitting to rape on Reddit. Also, you’re a monster. [BuzzFeed]
Marissa Mayer is reportedly getting straight to work Googlifying Yahoo. She officially made the food in the Valley HQ free again, much to the delight of the company’s starving engineers. [AllThingsD]
Speaking of Ms. Mayer, Dave McClure thinks she should focus on transforming Yahoo into a female-oriented company. Unfortunately, he called his blog post on the idea, “Pink is the new Purple.” [500 Hats]
Craigslist is stifling innovation by suing PadMapper. [New York Times]
Companies actually listen to your online reviews. Rejoice, asshole Yelpers! [Wall Street Journal]
Presented without comment: “Mr. Blodget now presides over Business Insider from a makeshift standing desk in the middle of a 50-person newsroom in New York, where he barks questions (“Is it cool?” “Can we clip that video?”) at his reporters.” [WSJ]
IP Uh Oh
Now that Groupon tested the IPO waters and found them warm enough (stock dropped 4.8 percent, but is currently trading at $23.70), Yelp is ready to wade on in.
Earlier this week the online crowd-sourced consumer review company tapped Goldman Sachs and Citigroup as the bookrunners for its IPO. Today the Wall Street Journal reports that Yelp is planning a public offering that would value the company between $1 billion and $2 billion.
If you haven’t gotten the memo, Mayor Bloomberg is uber-amped about the tech scene. Look over here folks, nothing to see at Zuccotti Park!
Not only has El Bloombito been stopping by tech meetups and demo days, but he’s also christening techie offices. After all, “We just want to change the world” is an easier industry to get behind than “Hey, thanks for that bailout.”
This morning, Mayor Bloomberg and “head nerd” Rachel Sterne, fresh off her Vogue profile, swung by Yelp’s new East Coast headquarters, stationed in Union Square (for maximum local tech cred).
How much is a catalog of restaurant reviews better-associated with a little red book worth in the Yelp area? Not a heckuva lot according the Wall Street Journal. The paper’s source says Google paid a mere $125 million to acquire the 32-year-old company. That’s the same valuation Zagat claimed in an investment round 11 years ago. Zagat took itself off the market back in 2008 when no buyer came forward willing to meet its asking price of $200 million.
David vs. Googliath
Last month, Betabeat talked to HopStop CEO Joe Meyer about “holding [its] own against the giant”–that being Google–especially in New York, where HopStop started. Now that the revamped site, with integrations from Yelp, Groupon, and Hertz, has been out for a week, we’re curious if it’s enough for Google Transit loyalists to switch back to the original. We haven’t been able to test it out for the accuracy yet (Mr. Meyer says HopStop has more realtime inputs than Google) as–miracle of miracles–all our most-frequently used subway lines appear to be running on schedule.
But while we appreciate the mix-and-match options of picking certain subway lines or choosing more walking over transfers, those features were always there. Finding nearby restaurants and bars still looks cleaner and takes less clicks on a Google map. And if we were going to rent a vehicle, it would be via ZipCar, not Hertz.
San Francisco-based Yelp is moving into new digs at 100-104 Fifth Avenue in Union Square. It’s new neighbors? Apple’s iAd mobile sales team. Considering Yelp has apps for the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad, those two should have a lot to talk about on the elevator up.
David vs. Googliath
For all those start-ups rushing to be first-to-market, let HopStop be a lesson. Being the first to plant your flag won’t necessarily keep it there, especially when Google comes stomping in. Six years after it launched, HopStop announced a massive transformation Monday, morphing the navigation service, which also has an iPhone and Android app, into some Web 2.0 Frankenstein of local reviews, daily deals, and real-time directions thanks to partnerships with Yelp, Groupon, Zvents, Hertz, and Limos.com. Betabeat talked to CEO Joe Meyer, former VP & GM for AOL’s Quigo Technologies (once run by Hashable’s Mike Yavonditte), about the revamp and how Hopstop is “holding our own against the giant.”