Online review sites like
TripAdvisor and Yelp are
playing an influential role
in consumers’ buying
decisions. Is your business
ready to “go public”?
BY JUNE D. BELL
After feasting at the new Italian restau- rant in your neighborhood, you rave to your co-workers about the savory egg- plant Parmesan and tender linguini. At least, that’s what you would have done in 2005. Today, anyone with a glowing review or an ax to grind is more likely than ever to share that opinion on an online review site such as Yelp, TripAdvisor or Citysearch.
The sites have become so popular,
so quickly, that whenever a bartender
pours a drink or a manicurist files a nail,
there’s a growing cadre of critics eager
to weigh in—and an exploding number
of visitors eager to read what they have
to say. More than 29 million people visit
Yelp each month to scour its 9 million