Yelp is releasing a new feature with the simple, self-explanatory name Questions and Answers.
Well, mostly self-explanatory. This is distinct from Talk, a feature where Yelp users can ask an incredibly broad range of questions (as I write this, the New York page currently includes conversations about the travel time to the airport, when it’s legal to kick out a roommate and The Bachelorette).
Instead, these are questions and answers tied to a specific venue, a focus that could make this stand out from other Q&A products. For example, you could ask how long visitors normally stay at the Kennedy Space Center or if a bar allows dogs or about pricing at a tattoo parlor, then get answers from other users, or from the business owner themselves.
Users can upvote and downvote the answers based on how helpful they are, and they can also sign up for notifications whenever a specific question gets answered.
Product Manager Brian Boshes described this as “great, Yelp-y content” that can help people find the information that’s important to them (which might be mentioned in some reviews, but could be tough to find). He also noted that this is a “potentially limitless way” for someone who’s a supporter or fan of a business to stay engaged with their Yelp page — they can’t keep posting reviews, but they can keep answering questions.
Lastly, Boshes said this provides valuable data for Yelp about what users are looking for. If people keep asking about something (say, the kid-friendliness of a restaurant), then maybe it’s time for Yelp to add that as a piece of information in every profile.
Yelp ran a limited pilot of this feature late last year and is now rolling it out nationwide on iPhone, Android and desktop. You’ll see the Q&A section pop in above the review section of Yelp profiles.