About Me

  • I've spent more than 25 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies and startups. You can read more about me here.

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June 07, 2009


David Giesberg

I think that this is more or less true, but one place that I think the newspapers can more or less shine is in painting a broad picture of a local scene. Yelp works great at low-levels - when you want the exact scoop on one restaurant. Newspapers (and I am thinking of the Austin Chronicle as an example) still have a better grasp of that overall scene - providing a resource for quickly identifying the best pizza or burger in town or the bigger characterization of what the local dining or retail scene.



Thanks for the kind words about my piece and idea. It's still amazing to me the lack of imagination among newspapers, but then again, they were never really set up to innovate in this way. That's something they are going to have to fix to survive, but time, and the information streams they still have a monopoly over, are both running out.


One area where Yelp fails is not allowing merchants (restaurants, retail shops, etc.) to offer promotions to local audiences. So, the service, while great for getting a read on the quality of a restaurant or even finding the location or phone number of a business does a poor job of providing timely information--whether it is today's specials or sale events, etc. And, I've heard they put the squeeze on businesses when it comes to removing false reviews (essentially pay to play).

And, I will bet you that newspapers will soon lose that business as well...


Hi Darian -

Yelp actually allows businesses to post promotions (sales and specials, Happy Hours, etc), respond to reviews and provide additional information about their business for free via Yelp for Business Owners - https://biz.yelp.com/: a free suite of tools we launched in April of last year.

Additionally, Yelp doesn't engage in pay to play. We don't remove or reorder reviews for any business whether a Yelp sponsor or not. You can read more about us here: http://www.yelp.com/myths or drop us a line at feedback@yelp.com.

And Mark, thanks for the post. Should you want to chat about Yelp more, let us know!

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