If you want to try out some services that are similar to Yelp, either because you don't like Yelp or just want something to compare it to, then here are some of the most popular sites like Yelp.
Foursquare is probably the most similar website to Yelp, with a few key differences. First, instead of allowing full-blown reviews of businesses, it restricts people to "Tips", short 200-character pieces of advice about locations that may include an accompanying photo or link to more information. Second, ratings of businesses are determined by a more complex process, taking into account not only users' answers to a series of questions about a business, but also how many times users visit or leave "Tips" about a business. Finally, Foursquare is able to recommend new businesses for you to try based not only on special keywords called "Tastes", but also on things such as what places you've already visited, how highly you've rated certain businesses, and even what time of day it is where you are.
TripAdvisor was formerly a sub-company of Expedia, and so they offer many of the same services when it comes to finding and booking travel accommodations. However, another large part of what they do involves its users listing and reviewing local hot spots at popular travel destinations, including restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, sports venues, spas, unique shops, and more. If tourists like it, then chances are that you, as a local, will like it too.
MerchantCircle is a hub for local businesses to connect with each other, as well as their customers, with a heavy focus on social media features. In addition to finding a local business, you can use MerchantCircle to hunt for discounts and offers in your area, see what everyone's saying about the hot spots in your vicinity, and even ask other users for advice on how to do pretty much anything. Businesses are given a "Merchant Score" based not only on how users rate and review them, but also on how much a business itself engages with the community. This can include how many "likes" they get on Facebook, as well as things like how often they answer customers' questions or concerns, write blog posts, send out newsletters, offer deals, or just keep their information as up-to-date and accurate as possible.
Think of UrbanSpoon as a Yelp that's specifically dedicated to finding places to eat. You can filter your search for a bar or restaurant not only by the general location, the style of food, or the average price tag, but also by features such as whether they have karaoke or free wireless Internet, or even how close they are to a notable nearby landmark (such as a sports stadium). Like Yelp, the bulk of the information on UrbanSpoon (including reviews) is posted by business owners or UrbanSpoon's users, but some of it also comes from local professional food critics and chefs.
Angie's List is a local business directory website that allows its users to submit more comprehensive reviews of companies than Yelp. Users can grade a company in report-card style (on a scale of A to F, with A being the best and F being the worst) on five categories: price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality, and professionalism. The ratings in each category are averaged out to create an overall personal rating, and those are averaged out to create an overall rating for the company. The main drawback of Angie's List is that it isn't free to use; you have to sign up for a monthly subscription in order to see any listings or reviews. The trade-off, though, is that many of the companies listed on Angie's List give discounts or special offers on a regular basis, so things somewhat balance out.
Do you know of any other websites like Yelp that we should add to this list? Let us know on Facebook, or post a comment below.
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