Yelp It!

In the old days, we learned about new restaurants, stores, and other businesses through word of mouth (one person telling another). We still do that these days, but many people have taken that online (on the Internet) to websites that allow user reviews (comments written by users or customers). One user review website that has become very popular in recent years is

The word yelp means a short, sharp cry that comes out of your mouth when something suddenly gives you pain or surprises you. I associate yelping more with animals, like dogs, than with people, but if someone stepped on my foot, I would certainly yelp.

The website Yelp started in 2004 and allows people to post user reviews about restaurants, stores, services, and even prisons.  What?!  Prisons??  Yes, even U.S. prisons are listed on Yelp’s website and anyone can post a review of these “graybar hotels.” I don’t think anything could induce me (attract and convince me) to check in to a graybar hotel, but it’s interesting to read what former (in the past) or current inmates (prisoners) and those who visit inmates think of the prisons.

More commonly, people use Yelp to read about customers’ experiences before going to a new place or using a new service, and it’s a place where people can write laudatory (praising; complimentary) reviews or gripe (complain) about their experience. It’s so popular these days that it’s not uncommon to hear people use the verb “to yelp” to mean to read reviews on Yelp (or even other websites) similar to the way people use “to google” to mean to search the Internet, no matter what search engine they use.

In the past, I’ve used Yelp to get recommendations on all kinds of places and services: restaurants, car repair, plumbing repair, movers, hair salons, and many more.

Is there a popular user review website where you live? Do you use it, and if so, for what types of businesses or services?

~ Lucy

Photo Credit: Cele.jpg from Wikipedia

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19 Responses to Yelp It!

  1. sutisha says:

    Dear Lucy,

    One of the most popular Thai user review website launched in 1997 is PANTIP which everyone can exchange any topics or ideas range from entertainment, education, health, family, celebrity and every talk of the town, politics, science, travel, business, cars, mobile phone, medical care, fortune telling, stock market, international recipes, buying and selling things on line and a thousand other issues as well as all recommendations you’ve got from Yelp. To post or respond to any comment must be on the condition that all of which are considered netiquette. To be concise, you can get further information and learn the interesting rules for members at Pantip-Wikipedia, free encyclopedia …

    Best Regards,

  2. emiliano says:

    I would like to have only one that could see opinions about nearly every kind of service, shops, restaurants…and so forth
    Just the same like Yelp, but so far as I know there is not any one so wide.
    Usually there are lots of websites where you may read the opinions of people about a specific subject, music, restaurants.
    electronic devises, and so on.
    There is also a magazine that has the name of “consumers” where the editors have opinions about differents subjects but
    I think you have to pay a kind of suscription to see what they say about the matter your want to look for.
    It is more usual a “word to mouth” for every kind of repairs or similar, even to criticize a movie or a Tv. serial or even a
    soccer match or a soccer player.

    Thanks a lot dear teacher.


  3. Peter says:

    I must say ,some of eslpod’s episodes run by Jeff and Lucy show me how little I know.English wise.
    the latest episod on the subject ” Prediction” was a good example of them.
    I didn’t know around 90 percent of the terms discussed on the episod.

    Thanks to Jeff and Lucy for the lesson. it was extremely educational to me

    Yours ,

    The knucklehead:))

  4. Peter says:

    Hi my dear Professor Lucy ,

    I had heard about the website you mentioned above , but I never bother checking the website and read the reviews.
    The thing is , I always read these reviews with a grain of salt.
    I mean , I m very cynic about it.
    Sure ,you can get an idea about the restaurant , hotel or personal care even , or even repair services. But, how accurate the reviews could be. There is no Guaranty, there is no telling that the reviews are written by the actual clients who used the services.
    You know , everybody can put down a rave comment there even the owner. they can style themselves as a customer (thank you Lucy for the term )
    Or,on the other hand , some rival business owners can unjustly criticize their counterparts on the website ,and vise versa.
    Color me cynical ,but it is not logical to base your decision on some biased reviews.
    I rather experience it myself than judge it with the eyes others.

    Besides , if you really wanna learm more about the service you plan on using, you don’t need to go out of your way to check ” Yelp”; you can simply go to the relevant business home website then click on the reviews.
    I m guess that is the reason why the website never received the applaud it hoped for.

    Buy for now

  5. Giovanni says:

    I’ve just checked and an Yelp website exists in Italy too with a “dot it” domain: it isn’t a useful website yet because there are few information.
    I prefer to use my smartphone instead of my computer. For example I discovered Eslpod trying the Android ESL Daily English’s app. Then I subscribed to this amazing site.
    Going back to our discussion I often take a look at my Foursquare app and I think it’s very useful: yesterday I wanted to eat japanese food and I found a good restaurant.
    After all a smartphone is always with you, while it’s quite difficult to have a desktop computer in your pockets.

    Hoping I never have to write a review of a prison,

    best regards


  6. RED13 says:

    Word of mouth (=information you get by someone telling you). Thanks for letting us know about Yelp!

  7. Peter says:

    Dear Giovvani,
    I do the same
    I use my smartphone which happens to be an iPhone set. I totally agree with you about the accessibility of the phone and the quick connection to eslpod.
    I couldn’t agree more that the phone is always conviniatly located in our pockets ,as a result Eslpod’s website and all the lessons all 1089 of them are just a click away everywhere around the clock.
    But, there is a glitch rather pitfall , better a catch to it. U know ,I have difficulty writing here using the finger touch keyboard. It is too cramp for my fingers so I , more often than not, happen to Press two or three key words simontenuously and that my friend totally messes up my writing here. To make the matter worst ,I have autocorrection mood on at all times that doubles the number of misspelled words. Truth yo be told , The reason why I have the mode on is my spelling is brutally awful. Subsequently , if I have it off -I bet-you may suppose I write my Comments in a whole different language due
    to the numerous spelling mistake.
    The thing is , I just talk your ear off all day long. But, when it comes to writing I m truly as bad as it can get.
    I have never been good at writing.
    Well,not every body is Lucy
    Not every body is Jeff
    I don’t have what it takes-that is-the talent :))


    The muttonhead :))

  8. Giovanni says:

    I’ve seen that there’s an Yelp app for my Android. Let’s try! I love apps, so little and so useful!


  9. Betty says:

    Thanks Lucy, thanks Giovanni, thanks everyone.

    I don’t know why, I found I have an apps for “Yelp” on my Iphone already. I did not notice I had such an apps until I read Lucy’s article above.

    In fact I have far too many apps that I only use a maximum of 10% of them regularly.

    When I read from Giovanni that has an apps, I wasted no time and google it straight away.

    I found some apps for Iphone as well. One very recently developed – released 15 January 2013.

    I think I will wait for a while to see what other people say about this apps, and to see if there is a free apps available.

    If comments for this one is good and there is no free ones available, I will pay the $0.99 that this apps asks for.

    It will be a lot more convenient to have an apps.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Best Regards

    Betty 🙂

  10. Jeff says:

    Jeff here. I thought it would be good for me to comment on the subject of the “ESL Podcast” apps that are out there. First, and most importantly, none of these are produced by ESL Podcast. We can’t help you if you have a problem with them or if they stop working.

    Second, for the protection of our ESLPod trademark and to prevent people from being mislead that these are *our* apps, I usually request that the apps that use our name be removed from the Android and Apple App Stores. This is for our own legal protection, but also because I don’t want people being misled.

    The Apple App Store 99 cent app that was recently released is an example of an illegal app, and I’ve already requested that Apple remove it, as it violates our trademark and our copyrighted logo, and misleads people.

    Now, having said all that, it is very easy to download the podcast using Apple’s own Podcast app and other podcasts apps on Android. But I understand completely that these are not perfect – and that we should really have our own app! Trust me, we are working on it, but a few things have to happen before we can get to it. But we will keep working on it.

  11. Betty says:

    Thanks, Jeff, thanks for clarifying the ESLPOD apps for us.

    I shall be patient and wait for the official ESLPOD app to come out.

    It is not easy running a business.

    Somehow somewhere I heard someone said “In the past it was Big win Small, nowadays it is Fast win Slow”.

    “Time is money” and it is so true.

    Thanks again, Jeff, you are a very good and responsible English teacher and businessman. The way you try to keep up with the demand of the world has won the heart of many English learners in the world.

    Best Regards

    Betty 🙂

  12. emiliano says:

    Dear Jeff, teacher and friend for ever, I have now a question about what you said
    and it is this:
    When I open iGoogle I have some gadgets in the screen, the weather, the time
    in several cities, dictionaries and also this one about ESL:

    English as a Second Language (ESL) Podcast – Learn English Online
    865 – Believing in Predictions
    English Cafe #383
    864 – Going to Business Schoolseveral places

    My question now Jeff is about this iGoogle tool
    is it legal?
    Of course it is not an app. but for me is easy to listen to the last
    ESL podcast if I am short of time….
    Do you have to pay something by this service if is it right…..
    or do they pay to you.
    Do you prefer that we go and opened your web site directly?
    If so I do that.

    Thanks a lot dear Jeff

    emiliano “gatufo”

  13. emiliano says:

    Dear blogers, some of you may know I love Opera absolutely and one of my favorite composers is
    Giacomo Rossine. He has an Opera:
    Il barbiere di Siviglia
    that is one of my favorites.
    Having in mind what is now happening in Spain, so much rubish in some newspaper (one of them published a fake
    photo of Chavez dying in bed with lot of tubes coming out from his mouth), lack of respect to the person who is
    dying if it should be true, but it wasn´t, I like to share this aria just because is one of my best and now is quite
    appropiate to the circunstances we are living through in Madrid.
    So, with you permiss Jeff, here is the lyric in Italian (original) and translated in English…..

    Sevilla, tha most mentioned city in Opera….Mozar, Rossini, Verdi……???? why?


    La calunnia

    La calunnia è un venticello
    un’auretta assai gentile
    che insensibile, sottile,
    leggermente, dolcemente,
    incomincia a sussurrar.

    Piano piano, terra terra,
    sotto voce, sibillando,
    va scorrendo, va ronzando;
    nelle orecchie della gente
    s’introduce destramente,
    e le teste ed i cervelli
    fa stordire e fa gonfiar.

    Dalla bocca fuori uscendo,
    lo schiamazzo va crescendo:
    prende forza a poco a poco,
    vola già di loco in loco.
    Sembra il tuono, la tempesta
    che nel sen della foresta,
    va fischiando, brontolando,
    e ti fa d’orror gelar.

    Alla fin trabocca e scoppia,
    si propaga, si raddoppia
    e produce un’esplosione
    come un colpo di cannone,
    un tremuoto, un temporale,
    [un tumulto generale]
    che fa l’aria rimbombar.

    E il meschino calunniato,
    avvilito, calpestato,
    sotto il pubblico flagello
    per gran sorte va a crepar.
    The Calumny

    The calumny is a little wind,
    a very gentle little breeze
    which numbly, softly,
    lightly, kindly,
    begins to whisper.

    Little by little, mildly,
    in a low voice, hissing,
    it goes flowing, it goes buzzing;
    in people’s ears
    it enters deftly
    and makes heads and brains
    stun and blow.

    Getting out from the mouth
    the clamour grows:
    it slowly strenghtens,
    it already flies from one place to another.
    It seems like the thunder, like the storm
    that in the depht of the forest
    go whistling, grumbling,
    and makes your blood run cold.

    In the end it spills over and blow up,
    it spreads, it doubles
    and provokes an explosion
    like a cannon shot,
    an earthquake, a rain storm,
    a general tumult
    which makes the air peal.

    And the miserable one who is defamed,
    degraded, trampled,
    scourged by the public opinion
    fortunately dies.

    I you don-t know this Opera, please listen to it or see it in dvd.
    incredible amusing and good.
    Figaro is one of the best rols in Opera to all baritonos…..

    My best, emiliano

  14. sutisha says:

    Hi! Dear everyone,

    From “Yelp it!” to “Opera”
    Our Dear Lucy initiates;
    “From word of mouth
    To online user reviews.”
    Amiliano suggests “consumers”, a magazine.
    While Peter takes “Yelp” with a grain of salt,
    And Giovanni sees “it” not useful.
    Red 13 feels thankful as being told.
    Betty….seems to fall in with “apps”?
    Jeff soundly concerns ESL Podcast’ name,
    And I do too … but … Tania, where are you?
    In front of your TV, watching AXN, I guess.
    Last but not least … PS for Dear Emiliano,
    Everything can come about in this real world.

    Best wishes,


    I bought an ukulele yesterday and rushed to visit
    You Tube as soon as I got home to search ‘How to
    play ukulele’ …May I recommend an ukulele virtuoso
    from Hawaii, Jake Shimabukuro, whose spectacular
    performance for his complex finger work is second
    to none

  15. Jeff says:

    Emiliano – It’s a little tricky: We put the dialog scripts and other basic information about the episode on a publicly available “feed” (called an RSS feed) which can be accessed by anyone. There is no problem in people accessing the feed and using the information in a service like iGoogle, including that “widget” you see. The problem is when people take the information and pretend that it is theirs or that their site/app is somehow connected with ours. That’s what I meant about apps and sites being misleading.

    I hope that makes sense.


  16. Giovanni says:

    Hi Emiliano, do you know the The Barber of Seville by Giovanni Paisiello?
    It was performed more than 30 years before the Rossini’s one.

    The italian’s libretto is very easy to find in internet, I’ve risked an english translation because I didn’t find anything:

    The calumny, my sir,
    do not you know what is it?
    With only this
    sincerely you can always do great things.
    This one, razing from the ground,
    slowly starts;
    and the vast multitude of the common people
    picks it up, and makes it stronger
    then passes from mouth to mouth,
    and the devil brings it to you ears
    and so it is.
    Meanwhile calumny grows,
    rises, whistles, increases before one’s very eyes:
    it flys in the air, and fluctuates,
    flashing it strides and rumbles;
    and then growing more and more, it becames
    an universal tumult,
    like a general chorus,
    and there is no more remedy.

    @Jeff and Betty excuse me for the apps, I didn’t know

  17. emiliano says:

    Thanks a lot Jeff, it is quite clear to me now and also I Iknow I am doing
    the right thing.
    So many things here in the web, I knew so few about RSS feed but
    actually nothing in fact, as much as one learns more clear is how few we know.
    “The only thing I know is that I know nothing”
    Sorry Socrates, it was him I think, for taken your phrase here, but it is the truth.

    Thanks dear teacher.


  18. emiliano says:

    Hi Giovanni,

    Thanks a lot, years ago I could listened to G. Pasiello because I had something from him
    in CDs- and I liked his music and Operas a lot.
    Just the same as with Cimarosa.
    Such a pity that there is not Opera theatres where these music could be represented.

    It is a pleasure to find this lyric here in ESL blog and I it has been a nice surprise
    to me dear friend.
    Do you like Opera? I do think that YES, you like it by sure.
    Italians are the best composer by all means together with Mozart and Haendel of course.
    to my own choice.
    May be some people could think Wagner or Strauss are better, sorry not for me.
    Wagner was my last discovery but all his Operas are so much long…..too long
    despite now I like them very much too having the subtitles of the German language.
    To me also Donizetti is Great, do you know he was born the same day like me?
    29th november, just a honor.

    Thanks again dear Giovanni.


  19. Giovanni says:

    Hi Emiliano,
    I really love classical music. About Operas my favourite composer is Giuseppe Verdi. His parents were from Piacenza like me. By the way your name is Emiliano and I’m emiliano like Verdi (in english Emilian).
    I was just a little boy the very first time I listened to a Verdi’s Opera “La donna è mobile” “Woman is fickle”. In those days at school I was studing the unification of Italy

    Verdi is associated with the creation of the kingdom of Italy, peraphs without his will. For example the revolutionaries who wanted the unit of Italy used to say “Hurrah for Verdi” as an acronym for “Hurrah for Vittorio Emanuele King (Re) of Italy”. As the activists for the unification of Italy were connected with secret societies, they had some issues to comunicate each others and as mobile in italian means both “mobile” and “fickle”, when I heard “woman is mobile” I understood that Verdi was suggesting to use women to comunicate, because they were more “mobile” (for example less controlled by police) than men.
    “Muta d’accento” means both (she) changes her mind and she is mute of accent, she has no accent so yuo can’t understand if she is from Piacenza or from Genoa, for example. So I reinforced my idea that Verdi wanted to use women to comunicate by passing the word.

    Then I grew up and I improved my italian. I hope to do the same thing with my english.




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