Buying Ads On Yelp Is The Thing To Do

Sarah Lacy, the BusinessWeek writer who caused a melee at South By last month, turns her attention from Facebook to Yelp for the moment.

Yelp’s real Web 2.0 bragging right is its business model. Unlike many companies in its peer group, Yelp provides a compelling advertising platform. People go there intending to make a transaction—say, find a Thai restaurant in New York or an accountant in San Francisco. And it’s always easier to sell ads to someone when you know what they want. Even on a search engine like Google, people are only looking to transact part of the time. Often, they go to get information. And on a social network such as Facebook, people aren’t looking to transact at all; they’re just there to connect with friends.

I like how Lacy breaks that down. Web-based business models are all clamoring for ad dollars, but how many of them have asked the hard questions of themselves? Like, “Will our users click banner ads?”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Her theories certainly make sense, but the whole point of users looking at reviews is finding authentic opinions about places. I’d be more skeptical of an ad on a reviews site then elsewhere. What Yelp does right is lets sponsors display that they’re a preferred Yelp vendor which gives them cred to customers at their place of business (online or off).