A while back we introduced a cool social media integration feature on the ApartmentFinder.com site – any of our advertisers can have their Yelp reviews displayed on their property details pages. All they need to do is let us know and we have integration already built. VERY FEW of our advertisers have signed up for the service.
Geoff Donaker, the COO at Yelp, was speaking at a conference that I attended in December and I mentioned to him that many of our customers were still on the fence with how to deal with review sites. Specifically I told him that when it came to our two company’s integration, no-one seemed to want to be “First”. Both of us agreed that there needed to be more industry outreach in order to establish a comfort level in incorporating these unfiltered consumer sentiments in marketing materials.
To that end, NCI is scheduling for February 5th a joint webinar for anyone of our advertisers to hear directly from Geoff and the team at Yelp about how their product works and their understanding of how consumers use their site. It should be a great educational event, and I am thrilled that we can bring it to the industry.
In advance of that session, I thought that it made sense to describe the WHY behind our integration with Yelp.
1 – For the CONSUMER…
We look at the downstream sites for all of the ILS’s on services like ComScore and HitWise. The rating sites (Yelp, ApartmentRatings, etc.) are always in the top 10. The consumer is actively seeking this information and making them run around to get it does not make sense. Yelp, in particular, does a good job of screening out the bogus reviews so that the review content is particularly useful. We like the way that they can catch a competitor trying to seed bad sentiment and delete those posts. We also like that they can catch businesses that write “pretend’ reviews, promoting themselves. Here is more about the Yelp Automated Filter.
2 – For the ADVERTISER…
We looked at the reviews on Yelp, and they are remarkably positive. I think that it is a credit to the screening algorithms that overly negative, spammy reviews don’t seem to be a significant part of the content mix. According to Yelp, “Yelpers have written over 8 million local reviews, over 85% of them rating a business 3 stars or higher”.
I am very interested to see if we get a big turn-out for the event and most importantly to see what kind of questions our industry has for the guys at Yelp.