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Yelp for Realtors – with 50 million monthly users, do you know if you are being reviewed?

Yelp’s tremendous web growth

Yelp has seen its ups and downs, its lag in adoption and even lawsuits, but the public doesn’t seem to know about it and they keep on using the review site. Mostly known for restaurant reviews, Yelp has made strides to expand their offering to include coupons to compete with Groupon and we imagine they’ll eventually offer a restaurant reservations competitor to OpenSeat.

Recently, Yelp has hit some important milestones as it has officially surpassed 17 million reviews but more importantly is attracting 50 million users per month. Everyone uses Yelp, it is the Google of review sites- you can’t seem to not use it, even if you want. Even my father uses it (and leaves lengthy hilarious reviews like this one, complete with cuss words).

Tech blogger Jason Kincaide, “CEO Jeremy Stoppelman says that the service is seeing a faster rate of growth for both contributions (reviews) and users than it has historically— in Q1, users wrote 2 million reviews, while most quarters average 1 million.”

Yelp and real estate

Yelp use is on the rise and its growth is expanding. We believe much of their growth is with their mobile users as their app is pretty handy when on the road (we use it when traveling quite a bit).

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But all that growth doesn’t mean their value proposition is universally understood. Recently, when talking with an agent friend of mine, Yelp came up and she insisted that it was restaurants only. I had to show her that it was literally a review site for everything with a mailing address. We searched for her name and nothing came up, but her brokerage did and she was braced for the worst but it was mostly positive.

Some Realtors take Yelp seriously

Some Realtors have taken Yelp seriously and behaved like a business owner by adding their logo, some of their headshots or pictures of them in action, outlining their service area on the map and actually soliciting reviews. The great thing about Yelp is that reviewers are very accountable as all of their reviews are public under their profile and the language is much more natural than some Realtor review sites where you see the same testimonial copied and pasted (that was clearly written by the agent).

Sean McCormack in Austin, TX is a really great example of a Realtor reviewed on Yelp that takes the time to make sure it is an inviting place for consumers when they find him. Out of kindness, we won’t highlight a bad example, you’ll find that on your own.

So if you aren’t aware of Yelp, hop on, do a search for your brokerage and your name and see if anything pops up. Claim your name or team as your business through Yelp and spice up your Yelp page. It’s easier to ask a consumer for a review where they already naturally congregate than to ask them to put their name on an arbitrary website they’ve never heard of, so maybe it’s time the real estate world paid better attention to Yelp?

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. LesleyLambert

    April 6, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Good reminder, I keep “meaning” to spend time at Yelp.

  2. Genevieve

    April 6, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Our brokerage is actually top rated on Yelp! in the DC Metro area with the most 5 star reviews… Uhm… hello… we LOVE it! We remind our happy clients to send their Yelp! lovin’ to the page and they enjoy doing it just as much as we enjoy spreading the word! It is exciting when you get to read the shining reviews about yourself and nerve-racking to think that someone you may have ticked off is possibly going to bring their pack-o-pooches to your front porch (throat clearing- thank goodness we aren’t in Texas any more, LANI). Thanks for reminding people to make Yelp! the valuable resource that it is.

  3. Anna Altic

    April 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I use Yelp Extensively. I have actually the yelp Elite badge and from time to time get invited to fun networking events around town. This year, I have started recommending a number of my vendors on there that I particularly like and trust. I then send them a link to my review and remind them that favorable reviews and referrals are very important to me. Their SEO is amazing as well so your recommendation of a particular vendor may put you front and center to someone contemplating the purchase and or sale of a home. I also interact with folks on the discussion forum in which Real Estate does come up from time to time. I have used the bling my blog widget with a map feature and love the listing by category feature as well. The cool thing about Yelp to me is that it’s a valid Social Networking tool that encourages you to be an expert about your community. Your reviews and reputation are certainly an important part of Yelp but it can be so much more!

  4. sfvrealestate

    April 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Lani, I posted this yesterday on Activerain under my real name, Judy Graff:
    Fellow Realtors, have you been told to encourage your clients to write a review for you on Yelp? I have, and I have. Three clients have written great reviews for me. But if your clients do this for you, make sure you copy and paste those reviews someplace else, because they may disappear soon.

    I just had a long conversation with a sales person from Yelp. He pitched me on one of Yelp’s premium packages. (I don’t have the money this year.) In the course of the conversation, he told me that if a reviewer isn’t a regular reviewer on Yelp, the Yelp algorthym usually deletes their review. He says this is to keep people from going on just once to review something at the request of the business. He noticed that two of my reviews were from non-regular Yelp posters, and told me they’d probably be going away soon. Even if you buy a Yelp premium advertising package, the algorthym will delete reviews from non-regulars!

    I still believe in Yelp. However, I’m going to make sure my reviews are posted elsewhere as well as there!

  5. Sara Bonert

    April 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Yelp is a wonderful place to build an online reputation. One word of caution I’ve heard from a handful of Realtors now… They sent out a mass email to their database asking for reviews, and of course got a bunch immediately as a result. Because of the large number of reviews to one profile in one day, Yelp saw this as spam and pulled their whole profile down and none of the reviews got posted. So if you proactively request reviews, piecemeal your requests out.

  6. Bobby Carroll

    April 8, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Great reminder Lani! People are reviewing agents more and more. I say get on Yelp and be aware what is being said. It’s called reputation management.

    Here is one awesome idea I heard @NashvilleBrian share at #RETSO 4.0 last week.

    1. Write a genuine review for a local business. My mom always said if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Following my mom’s advice, write a genuine, heartfelt review for a local business. Here’s where it gets cool!

    2. Print the review (with your profile info/image on it for all to see)

    3. Frame the review

    4. Deliver the review to the business owner

    5. Then watch as the business owner places your framed review for all to see right by the place where there will be the most traffic… at the cash register!

    6. Then go write a business spotlight post (you do have a local business spotlight category on your blog…. right?) and tell why you love that business and why you are stark raving fan of theirs!

    7. Then “Like” their FB business page and be sure to “Like” it from your business page. And don’t forget to go back and show them the post you wrote on your blog about their business! You’ll make new friends for life and at least a few more readers will show up on your blog.

    Items #6 and 7 I threw in there for good measure. 😉 Thanks Brian Copeland for sharing this great idea at #RETSO!

    • Lani Rosales

      April 8, 2011 at 11:35 am

      Good reminder of the round robin effect. We wrote some time ago about a pizza maker that was getting so many bad Yelp reviews that they made a joke of it, put the bad reviews on t-shirts in huge font for their employees to read and wouldn’t you know it, their foot traffic and loyalty increased.

      It’s not just about the good reviews, it’s the bad reviews that are an even bigger opportunity, a bigger chance to really win loyalty.

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