A recent piece on Yelp written for San Francisco magazine by one Karen Solomon roughs up the local-reviews website, but Solomon's critiques are mostly on target: The site's audience is insular and dominated by Bay Area residents; it has struggled to expand to other cities and define a business model. Just one small problem: San Francisco magazine reviews local businesses. In between throwing lavish parties, Yelp runs a website which lets its users do the same. So the two compete, at least in theory.
Solomon's claims would be more credible if they didn't appear in San Francisco, plainly a Yelp rival. Oh, and then there's Solomon herself: According to her resume, she makes a living writing reviews for other businesses that compete with the website — Zagat, CitySearch, AOL, SFStation, and so on. Neither conflict is disclosed anywhere in Solomon's piece. Not that a local city rag should be expected to uphold great standards of journalism. But such outlets are usually masters of stating the obvious.