YELP-Interview With Sonia Survanshi McFarland

Today’s sessions at DMS’08 ended with an one-on-one interview with Sonia Survanshi McFarland, Head of Business Development, YELP and Peter Krasilovsky. What follows is a quick paraphrasing of their conversation.

Q. What is YELP?
A. This is a city focused directory; which focuses on local community and local reviews. Right now, it has about 3.5 million reviews and 13 million unique visits (daily or monthly?)

Q. Talk about the YELP listing:
A. Business can claim their listing for free but there are options to purchase various  advertising packages with a cost similar to what you might spend on IYP.

Q. What is YELP’s place in local space online:
A. Right now local space is very fragmented and everyone can have a “seat at the table”  There is lots of room for different places and “we have one piece” of local space.

Q. Is YELP only for the younger set?
A. No, right now, the user demographics we have show 65% of users are about 35 years old, and other 25% 25-35 years old.

Q. Comment on your Newsletter:
A. We have a weekly email, that is themed based and hope to show “hidden gems”

Q. How are you moving into new cities?
A. Currently we are in 21 cities, but right now it is “sort of a viral thing, word of mouth helps us move from city to city”

Q. Where do you see YELP in a few years?
A. Right now we are 3.5 years old.  We will continue where we are going, collecting content, reviews,  moving into more cities, maybe internationally.

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