Yesterday, on its blog, Yelp announced that it will let users report their experiences from mobile devices. The update rolled out to iPhone platforms yesterday, and should be available for Android soon.
The new version allows users to ostensibly report on their experiences in real-time, instead of forcing them to run home and issue judgement on a personal computer. Beyond the new wave of typos and abbreviations you'll likely have to endure while reading through reviews (this piza was gr8!), the new capability will no doubt further shape the content posted to Yelp.
Certainly reviews will get shorter. Typing out a several-paragraphs-long diatribe about the mannerism of your waiter and the juiciness of your steak seems like a stretch on any mobile platform, but there's also a psychological effect when you distance yourself from an experience.
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Anyone who's had a night's sleep after a heated argument, or a few hours to consider a significant wrong-doing, knows that time has a way of mellowing emotion. You could argue that negative reviews filed at the restaurant have the potential to be more passionately disgruntled. Inversely, positive reviews could become a little more forgiving if a diner had been significantly impressed or under the influence of too much wine. (OMG OMG OMG the pizza U guys!)
At the extreme, you could see people who have used their status as power Yelpers for their own gains in the past take their game to the next level. Yelp could facilitate real-time extortion.
A third impact will likely be more reviews for each restaurant. Customers who might have felt strongly enough to post while paying their tab won't care or will have forgotten by the time they watch a movie and go home. Now they can comment while the experience is fresh in their mind.
Certainly, the new capability makes Yelp easier for users who want to post, but it's hard to tell what the effect will be on the Yelp users that consume that data. The company admits the vast majority of its users only read reviews and don't post content. The reviews they'll be reading could look a lot different soon.