Yelp

Note: This lab will be completed during class. You are welcome to complete Activity One in advance. Wait to complete the other activities until class.

Activity One

  • Create a Yelp account (if you don't already have one) http://www.yelp.com
  • Activate your account and log into the site
  • Navigate to the Washington DC homepage
  • Click on the "About Me" tab at the top of the homepage, click "Update Your Profile" and complete your profile as much as possible
  • Add a few friends if you don't already have some - you can start with your classmates (search by name)

Activity Two

  • Search for Salon Balayage - notice the overall star rating and scan through the reviews
  • Search for Ozuki Salon - notice the overall star rating and scan through the reviews
  • Between the two salons, which one would you be more apt to patronize and why?
  • From the perspective of a potential entrepreneur, business owner, marketing, or PR professional, what can we take away from the differences between these two business listings on Yelp? What types of reviews are desirable or undesirable? Is there are particular type of yelper that a business should desire to review them?

Activity Three

  • Do a Member Search for Dan D - select the result for the Washington DC based person and open his profile - scan over it briefly
  • Do a Member Search for Patrick H - select the result for the Redwood City based person to open his profile - scan over it briefly
  • Which of these two yelpers would you be more apt to read/trust the reviews of and why?

Activity Four

  • Look at these reviews for China Garden
  • Reviewer #1: China Garden

At first glance: The doorway to Rosslyn mezzanine restaurant China Garden, at the top of a gleaming escalator
beneath a canopy of steel-rimmed skylights, seems rather modest, even (compared with its high-tech surroundings) » dowdy.

But once inside the large, open dining room, with its touches of celadon paint and softly lit ceiling, you'll feel
comfortably insulated against the modern world and its traffic.On the menu: This is a classic Cantonese restaurant, » and its lengthy menu includes such traditional dishes as deep-fried duck stuffed with mashed taro; steaming
casseroles of eggplant flavored with a little chicken and salt cod; tripe with sour cabbage; a half-dozen spare-rib
recipes; and soups that will feed a table of 10, including sliced winter melon with Virginia ham and mustard greens with » duck as well as a light seafood and tofu. Shipments of vegetables at a popular restaurant this size are frequent, and » it's worth asking what's good and perhaps substituting fresh greens for the usual ones in your dish. Cantonese-style » dim sum is served by carts Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's a family tradition in the community, » so show up early to avoid a long line.

At your service: This is a popular spot for large celebrations; the restaurant can cater parties as large as 600, and
groups of eight or 10 are common. Occasionally the kitchen gets backed up and the waiters scramble, but most of the » time service is brisk. With a menu this long, it's helpful to ask questions, but be specific: Don't just ask if soft-shell
crabs are available, for example. Ask whether they are frozen or fresh, which kinds of whole fish or fish heads are on » hand, or whether the squid or scallops are better in a certain sauce. Repeat visits breed familiarity and good counsel.

On the table: The cold appetizer combo of braised beef brisket, jellyfish and boned, rolled and sliced pig's knuckles
encircled by orange slices could easily serve as a light meal; the delicate but earthy flavors bloom with a dash of chili » vinegar or hot chilies. If you like roast quail, which has become a standard appetizer at many Vietnamese restaurants, » step up to the Cantonese-style roast squab (pigeon), the meat of which is darker and a little wilder. It's an entree, » but you can order it split for the table as a first course. One of the chef's specials, grilled filet mignon China Garden » style, is a version of Vietnamese lemon grass beef with marinated cubes grilled to a slight caramel crust. Scallops are » fine in almost any form, particularly with an unusually light black-bean-ginger sauce. Even more delicate is the tender » cuttlefish, the pieces fringed and tossed with julienned scallions in just-thickened broth. Braised bean curd with
minced pork and spicy sauce (often called home-style tofu) is first-rate, simultaneously silky and pungent. Other fine » vegetable dishes include the sauteed baby eggplant and the braised seasonal greens with either mushrooms or bean » curd skins.

Wet your whistle: China Garden has a full bar, a list of "Polynesian favorite" cocktails, a dozen beers and a few house » wines.

  • Reviewer #2: China Garden

Do hordes of asian people stampeding at you scare your brunch sensibilities? Do you mind getting bumped, jostled and » essentially molested as you fight your way through a throng of crazed dim sum eating patrons to put your name down » for a 30+ minute wait?

If you answered yes to either, China Garden isn't the place for you. Sure, they've got decent dim sum. But I wouldn't » go out of my way to eat here on a Sunday … especially given the ridiculous crowds.

And it will be crowded at the 11:30 weekend brunch bell, I assure you. Like clockwork my friend. Reason - two words. » TOUR BUSES. I don't know what "arrangement" the owner has, but without fail the Chinese tour buses from all walks » of life pull up to this place and essentially dump their passengers onto Wilson Blvd. and direct them to China Garden. » Some get confused and wander into Baja Fresh, others wander to the local coffee shop wondering WTF? But
eventually, they all file onto the escalator that transports them into dim sum nirvana upstairs.

So my advice - don't come at 11:30. Come later in the afternoon after the tour bus crowd leaves. Your wait won't be » 45 minutes at that point, and getting a table shouldn't be a problem.

As for the dim sum, well there aren't any stand out items. Dumplings are OK, the noodle dishes need some more zip
(case in point, the beef chow foon we had was BLAND). The made to order dumplings and cakes are a better bet. In » the end, you'll probably end up pushing up from the table stuffed … but wondering if it was worth the wait.

  • What assumptions can we make about these two yelpers in terms of their engagement with the site, and with their grasp of the utility of Yelp? Does one user have more influence than the other from a reader's perspective? Why?

Activity Five

  • Now look at these two reviews for Hotel Palomar and consider the same questions.
palomar1.jpg
palomar2.jpg

Activity Six

  • Search for a business listing that you have recently patronized - a restaurant, a hair stylist, a grocery store, etc.
  • Scan the reviews, then write your own
  • Share the review by clicking the "Send to a Friend" link once the review has been posted
  • Be sure to read other classmates' reviews, then provide feedback via the vote buttons (Useful, Funny, Cool) and compliments
  • Which reviews receive a greater volume of feedback? Can we extrapolate on why that is? Consider from a business owner's perspective - if you have one message that you are permitted to send to a yelper that has written a review for your business, what type of messaging would you employ in order to open a dialogue with your customer?
  • Yelp.com recently changed their business practices. Read this article and consider all points of view — reviewers, businesses, and Yelp.com.

Optional Activity

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.