Yelp Australia Launches In Sydney, Melbourne

Crowdsourced reviews and directory service Yelp has made its long-expected debut in Australia, launching sites for Sydney and Melbourne that collect together reviews of restaurants, shops, hotels and, in the words of Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, "anywhere that has an address".

Yelp has been operating in the US for quite a while, and we've known since the middle of the year that an Australian launch was due this year. Initially the focus is on Sydney and Melbourne, and community managers have been appointed for both cities to help encourage reviewers. As you'd predict, there's something of an inner-city focus in the reviews to date: a service which doesn't include anything in (say) Parramatta can't exactly claim to be comprehensive, but that may well expand over time as users sign up for the service.

Long-term, Stoppelman said he expects Yelp to become active in other Australian cities, though he wouldn't provide a timeframe. In the US, Yelp has expanded into most cities with a population of a million or more; in Australia, that approach still wouldn't quite cover all our capitals.

As well as accessing Yelp reviews from the site, there are also apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7. However, despite the lack of a local Yelp service being one of the apparent reasons behind Apple's Siri voice recognition service not offering directions for users outside the US, Stoppeman said he wasn't aware of any plans to expand that option in Australia following Yelp's launch:

We have no idea what Apple has in store, just like everybody else. Certainly, we're delighted to be working with Apple and seeing that relationship expand, but we have no idea.



    From yelp's S1: "In some instances, we seed additional rich content, such as reviews, photos and hours of operation."

    Seems disingenuous if they are putting up fake reviews from the get go.

      Yelp hires "Scouts" to add content to the site before launching in a new city. Wouldn't make much sense to debut an empty database now would it? The scouts are paid to write, not what to say. More info:

    Seriously, Yelp is bit late to the party in Australia. For one, has been reviewing all kinds of things and doing a very good of it for years now. Yelp is just another startup, wasting money in search of ad dollars like the publisher of this site now. The competition is fierce, but the only way these sites work is by having mass appeal and a huge community to get them through. The way I see it, a partnership with Productreview would have been much smarter than trying to setup from scratch, kind of like how groupon failed here.

    When will the yanks realise - Aussies use the web differently and value local communities such as whirlpool etc. They do not like to spread their opinions across more sites than are already necessary to convey an astute opinion.

    Already, sites like Lifehacker depend on unique content and it's no wonder how quickly the industry will contract when ad dollars wear thin across too many sites each with a fraction of a larger pie. If Gus continues to rewrite what every other tech site in town writes (ie press releases and media junkets), then the site will die. Fortunately, Gus puts time into some good comparison work (which you can't get from a press release) and is therefore still relevant.... for now.

      dr know it all... yelp is nothing like If anything its more like but that is oversimplistic in stating what it reviews. Yelp is ridiculously handy in the US, as im sure in time it will prove the same here. Sure it will take time to accumulate the depth of reviews, but the business model is already proven.

      "The way I see it, a partnership with Productreview would have been much smarter than trying to setup from scratch..."

      Yelp has partnered with the Yellow Pages to help spread it's review content. I'll be interested to see how it spreads - there are some OK sites out there, but many of them have sub-standard mobile apps or poor search experiences.

      I'm not saying Yelp will have those things, but there is still space for a leader in the market, which means I don't think any such venture is a foolish as suggested, esp. when Yelp has become just that leader in the US before.

    fake reviews? where is my tin foil hat?

      i hate that the new commenting system doesn't show reply's as reply's.

        ok so maybe it does if i manage to hit Submit before someone else does.

    Word Of Mouth Online ( already has 200,000 reviews for local Australian businesses - without any funding and without employing anyone to write reviews. It will be interesting to see how this space develops but what is certain is that reviews help consumers get better service, and provide good businesses with a highly effective way to gain trust and build an online reputation.

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