Skip to main content

Yelp adds new features to help local businesses survive

Yelp adds new features to help local businesses survive

/

Alongside a $25 million fund for local businesses

Share this story

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Yelp is adding a collection of new features aimed at helping local restaurants and businesses that are struggling due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the company announced today. Alongside the new features, the company has announced a new $25 million relief fund aimed at local businesses, which will offer them free products, and services, and will waive some advertising fees. Moderators will also be cracking down on coronavirus-related misinformation in restaurant reviews.

The platform’s new features are designed to help local businesses operate while obeying the stringent social-distancing guidelines that experts agree are essential to reducing the spread of the virus. First up is a “contact-free” delivery option available through a partnership with Grubhub, similar to what many delivery services have already introduced. It will be available during the checkout process starting next week.

The platform is cracking down on reviews that blame restaurants for spreading the virus

New banner alerts will also be available for businesses, to let their customers know about any closures or adjusted hours. Yelp also says it will introduce new functionality to allow businesses to indicate if they’re open for delivery or takeout, or if they offer virtual services like online consultations, classes, or performances, with the latter now showing up in search. Yelp says it will be introducing the new features “soon.”

The $25 million fund follows a similar announcement from delivery service Grubhub, which said that it would make a $100 million relief program available for restaurants. However, while Yelp is promising to offer free access to some of Yelp’s services, and free search advertising, Grubhub is merely promising to defer collection of its commission fees, meaning restaurants will still need to pay them back at a later date that’s to be determined. Our friends over at Eater have compiled a list of relief funds that are available for restaurants, bars, and food service workers.

Yelp’s data suggests a large increase in the popularity of delivery and take-out.
Yelp’s data suggests a large increase in the popularity of delivery and take-out.
Image: Yelp

Finally, Yelp also says it’s introducing new review content guidelines relating to COVID-19, and that it has a zero-tolerance policy for any reviews that claim people have contracted the disease as a result of certain restaurants. This has been a problem for Chinese restaurants in particular, as people spread racist rumors that they’re to blame for spreading the virus. Yelp says that human content moderators will examine reviews flagged by the community.

The measures come as local businesses are facing unprecedented challenges brought on by the global pandemic. Yelp says its own data shows that consumer interest in restaurants has fallen by 54 percent, while nightlife businesses have seen a drop of as much as 69 percent. While some businesses will be able to weather the storm by continuing to offer deliveries or other remote services, the existential challenge for others will be very real.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 25 Not just you

E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.