Highly accessible consumer reviews

Yelp offers a forum for consumers to voice their opinions on the businesses that they use.

Yelp is an online reviews service for local eateries and attractions. Users can leave reviews for any business they've been to, including photos and personal anecdotes. Yelp then gives the establishment a 1-5 star rating based on the total number of ratings, which makes it easy to find out whether or not a restaurant is worth going to.

In a particularly handy turn, Yelp's service can also be found on mobile devices, allowing users to look up reviews on-the-fly when visiting a new city or confronted with an unfamiliar business. The service manifests both as a mobile-friendly Web app and a native client where users can pen in the beginnings of a new review while out and about. Another recent development is the highly sought-after expansion to international locations with sites popping up in Canada, Ireland, and the U.K.

In the past year, Yelp has suffered harsh criticisms for its advertising program that targets businesses that want to improve the way their review pages look. Businesses that pay can remove on-page recommendations for competing restaurants, and select a single user review to go on top of all the others. In response to claims that this was giving businesses a leg up, Yelp recently introduced a way for business owners to publicly respond to user reviews (both good and bad), so that all other users can see.

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