I don't know exactly how long it has been in existence (I think its been about 3 years) but I am totally and completely addicted to Yelp. I only discovered it about a year ago and I truly don't know how I ever lived without it. After being just a user/lurker for several months, I finally created a profile about 2 months ago and have been enthusiastically creating reviews of all the places that I go to eat, drink, and stay etc. Every time we travel out of town and experience some place new, I can't wait to get back to my laptop. I really look forward to writing reviews and sharing my interpretations with folks. Honestly, its kind of like blogging !
The cool thing about it is there's information on places in basically every major city and even some smaller places too. Now most yelpers live in highly urban areas, but it seems to be catching on in all areas. Here in Houston we have a weekly entertainment magazine called the Houston Press that I read faithfully. It gives all the latest info on restaurants, new and old, wine bars, lounges, concerts and the like. They have an editorial staff that does the reviews so you usually just get feedback from the same group of people every week. I enjoy the Houston Press and will continue to read it, but Yelp is just way more convenient. The reason I like Yelp is because you get feedback from patrons, real people sharing their experiences about places. It's like a community of sorts and every one's a critic. You can link it to FB and Twitter too.
I know this sounds like a commercial for Yelp, LOL, I swear they are not paying me, but I am absolutely hooked on how convenient it is and want to spread the word, because it's definitely user driven. You can do zip code searches and narrow down by criteria like type of restaurant, or type of music, and you can have the information sent to your cell phone as a text message in a matter of seconds. Of course if you have a smart phone you can access the site that way. Mr. Mixologist is the one who clued me in and we usually don't go anywhere new without yelping it. We have been able to discover and experience some really cool spots in and around Houston just by searching on yelp.
Do you Yelp ?
How do you discover new spots to eat, drink, or hang out in your area ?
Thoughts ? Questions ? Comments ?