19+ Yelp Facts to Swap With Fellow Reviewers

Updated · Apr 06, 2022

When was the last time you looked up a local gym in the good ole yellow pages?

Are you even old enough to know which yellow pages we’re even talking about?

Chances are you’re not leafing through dusty paperbacks featuring hundreds of local businesses anymore. This time around, you’re much more likely to be swiping reviews on Google Maps, TripAdvisor, and maybe even Yelp—a smaller online review platform, but still one that is definitely worth a look or two.

We’ve gathered a couple of helpful Yelp facts that will motivate you to check out this cool “bulletin board” of the digital space where you can find and write reviews of any local business.

Yelp Statistics That Make It Worth Your While (Editor’s Choice)

  • Yelp had 142 million users in 2021.
  • The majority of Yelpers (64%) have a college degree.
  • Dividing Yelp users by gender shows a slight gap—women take the lead, accounting for 53% of the platform’s user base.
  • Yelpers review establishments under the Home & Local Services and Restaurants categories most often (18% of the time each).
  • The most reviewed restaurant on Yelp has 16,000 reviews—and counting.
  • By 2021, Yelp had amassed 244 million business reviews across the globe.
  • Yelp’s international presence spans 35 countries and 42 languages.
  • Only 8% of Yelp visitors refrain from making a purchase after scouring through the site.
  • The platform’s revenue already surpassed the $1 billion mark in 202.

History of Yelp

Yelp has been there for us for a long, long while. Saving us time, effort, and anxiety when we’re choosing a new place to go or a new service to hire.

With Yelp, it’s simple to just hop online and search through its constantly expanding database of local places.

But how did it all begin?

Let’s take a look.

1. What is Yelp?

(Source: Yelp Newsroom)

Before Google Maps came and stole the show, there was Yelp. 

The popular online site where you’d write a review of that spicy new Indian restaurant downtown where you exulted in the most sublime of culinary experiences.

Or the platform where you’d publish a scathing review of that dentist that had you on the brink of inhumane pain for more than one hour and still ripped you off.

So, what does Yelp do?

It caters to both the good and the bad. It covers everything from restaurants and bars to gyms and auto repair shops, showing you what other people have to say about all those places.

2. In the name of… Yelp.

(Source: Yelp)

Rumor has it that the name was created as an amalgam of “help” and “yellow” (alluding to the “yellow pages” directories that were widely used at the time).

Alas, the founders have not publicly confirmed it.

So, in absence of an official explanation, fans (and anti-fans) continue to juggle around some humorous suggestions for the meaning behind the acronym. We particularly enjoyed “Yes, Everyone Loves Puppies”, “You Eat Little People”, and “Yahoo Everybody Let's Parteh!”.

Fun Yelp facts: The creators intended to name the site “Yocal”, but the domain name (luckily) wasn’t up for sale. We at Web Tribunal think “Yelp” sounds much catchier than “Yocal”.

3. When was Yelp created?

(Source: Eater)

Back in 2004, Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons, fresh from a career in PayPal, had an idea—and not just any old idea.

They aimed to create an “email circle” for friends who’d have access to a myriad of local business reviews.

4. The idea of Yelp was a stroke of luck (kind of).

(Source: SEJ)

We actually owe the creation of Yelp to Stoppelman’s illness in 2004. When the future co-founder of Yelp fell sick, he went digging online for the best doctor in town.

Seeing that there wasn’t much data readily available on the doctors nearby, he and Simmons decided to fill the digital search gap.

5. It cost $1 million to start Yelp.

(Source: Netcials)

Yelp was founded after Stoppelman and Simmons managed to raise the necessary capital. Then, the company embarked on a spectacular rise through the financial ranks over the years.

On its ten-year anniversary (2014), Yelp was already worth $5 billion!

Granted, the company is now worth less than that (around $3 billion), but it’s still quite an impressive achievement.

6. Yelp’s co-founder and incumbent CEO currently holds 360,000 Yelp shares.

(Source: Investopedia)

Yelp went public in 2012, and even today, Stoppelman is Yelp’s major shareholder. 

He splits his power with Geoffrey Donaker, Joseph "Jed" Nachman, and Laurence Wilson—a trio of Yelp veterans that have worked with the company since its early days.

7. How many employees does Yelp have?

(Source: TechCrunch)

The total was around 5,950 in 2019. Though Yelp laid off a few employees (close to a thousand, to be precise) at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to official Yelp facts, the company had also put 1,100 workers on furlough at the time. Hopefully, these folks are now back in the office.

Yelp’s Demographic

There’s this unspoken stereotype that Yelpers are probably the parents (or even grandparents) of Gen Z, but is that really true?

Perhaps the digital natives—with their incessant thirst for knowledge—have figured out Yelp’s existence and are now active users.

Let’s find out together.

8. In 2020, Yelp’s monthly active users reached 75 million.

(Source: JVMLending)

In this day and age, when there is an app for everything—and we mean literally everything, from proofreading your texts to being reminded of how awful life is with a daily demotivational pic—it comes as no surprise that the majority of users goes to Yelp’s mobile app rather than the browser version.

In 2021, the count rose to 92 million unique Yelp users on the mobile front alone.

9. 85% of potential buyers are more likely to make a purchase after scrolling in Yelp.

(Source: SaaS Scout)

In the US, specifically, where Yelp has retained its popularity, 80% of Yelpers will make a decision on the spot after leafing through the app’s reviews.

And it’s not really a matter of gender—research shows that men and women share the same likelihood (78%) of reading a review in the digital realm before deciding what to buy.

Fun fact: 10 reviews are more than enough for 90% of people to make up their mind about a business.

10. Older generations can’t get enough of Yelp.

(Source: wbl)

Distributing Yelp users by age reveals that 30% are currently aged between 18 and 34 years. For comparison, 36% go to the 35-54 cohort whereas the remaining 33% are above 55 years of age.

And this is all good news for Yelp—the company frames the 35-54 middle-agers as the generation that boasts the biggest income and is most willing to spend money.

11. Yelp’s user base comprises college-educated high-earners.

(Source: SEJ)

In fact, 64% of all Yelpers have received a college degree, 18% have not gone on to college, and another 18% have gone as far as to attend grad school.

Yelp statistics reveal that 51% of all users bring home more than $100,000 a year.

Fun fact: Although Yelp is available in 35 countries and 42 languages, 90% of its user base is located in the United States.

Yelp’s Market Share

With Google’s mass takeover of everything digitally searchable and findable, we cannot really expect that Yelp will carry the day on the financial market.

Still, the platform’s lifecycle is far from over.

Let’s take a look.

12. Is Yelp still relevant in 2022?

(Source: Yelp Newsroom)

The answer will surprise first-time Yelpers, but it’s a firm “yeah”.

To give you a taste of its continuing popularity, Yelp boasted 528,000+ paying locations and a cumulative 244 million reviews by the end of 2021.

13. Yelp’s market share hovers around 0.66%.

(Source: Datanyze)

Despite its firm standing with millions of loyal Yelpers, the platform does have a puny market share compared to its top competitors.

Trustpilot ranks at the top with an unreachable 23.49%. TripAdvisor grabs 11.07% of the market and Google Reviews follows behind with 9.93%.

14. Yelp vs. Google Reviews: Is one inherently better than the other?

(Source: score my reviews)

Although Google is often praised as the go-to-place for leaving and reading reviews, Google reviews lack the level of details that their Yelp counterparts usually offer.

The competitive advantage that Google has latched onto relies upon an automatic collation of information from numerous sources—social media websites included—to show you reviews.

Yelp, on the other hand, only displays reviews published on the Yelp browser platform or app.

15. In 2021, Yelp’s net revenue topped a new record with $1.03 billion.

(Source: businesswire)

Yelp has maintained a steady stream of revenue, the bulk of which stems from its advertising income.

The company’s net income for 2021 was $40 million. The projections for 2022 pinpoint the net revenue score somewhere around $1.16–1.18 billion.

16. Yelp’s advertising rates aren’t for everybody.

(Source: Yelp)

Small and large businesses alike, especially in the US, are more than eager to stand out from the digital crowd and shine on Yelp for potential customers to see. However, this doesn’t come for cheap.

The latest official Yelp statistics revealed that US-based businesses spend no less than $660 on Yelp ads. On average, local services are willing to spend $1,017 for advertising on Yelp. The upper limit, on the other hand, stands at $1,700.

Yelp Trivia

Before wrapping up this collection of facts, let’s go over some funny stats that provide a true-to-life glimpse into the workings and uses of the platform.

From the highest rated restaurant to the infamous portrayal of Yelp on a “South Park” episode, scroll below to be amazed.

17. "You're Not Yelping."

(Source: Eater)

Yelp’s review service made it into “South Park”!

In the episode, South Park residents start going to restaurants and vie for the title of elite food critic. The morale of the story is that online reviewers often take themselves more seriously than they should simply because their reviews are featured and read on websites like Yelp. 

At the end of the day, there is no free lunch—even for the crème de la crème Yelpers.

18. Decorate, eat, and shop.

(Source: Yelp Newsroom)

The top Yelp categories are: Home & Local Services (18%), Restaurants (18%) and Shopping (16%). 

On the other side of the spectrum, Travel & Hotel (4%), Arts, Entertainment & Events (4%), as well as Nightlife (2%) lurk at the bottom of the list.

19. In 2020, “Shawarma Guys” boasted an impeccable 5-star score out of 500 Yelp reviews.

(Source: Yelp blog)

The top rated Yelp reviews for US restaurants placed these locations at the very top: “Shawarma Guys” (San Diego, CA), “Pisces Poke & Ramen” (Los Angeles, CA) and “Farmbird” (Washington DC).

However, the restaurant that boasts the most Yelp reviews (so far) is actually the “Bottega Louie”. Its current review count has ratcheted up to 16,300!

Wrap Up

By now, you should probably know that “Yelp” doesn’t stand for a “short, sharp cry, especially of pain or alarm”—except, perhaps, for those local businesses out there, in the nether realm of the digital world, that get appalling online reviews.

For everyone else, though, Yelp is a friendly and highly informative space that allows users to exchange reviews and find the highest rated carpenter in the neighborhood (or whatever else you’re looking for).

So, did these Yelp facts sway you?

Or would you rather cruise to Google Maps and TripAdvisor as you’re probably used to?

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Nick Galov
Nick Galov

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.