A Site Worth Seeing: Yelp.com

For too long, people have searched without hope of finding the commodities of life. Even with the rising number “trained” physicians, it’s hard to find a decent doctor who has bedside manners better than that of a baboon. Restaurants with nice waiters, decent prices and edible nourishment are anomalies in a world of the on-the-go, fast food junkies. Tiny mom-and-pop tea shops squished into the corner of the strip malls go unnoticed, dust collecting on the ancient replicas of Qing Dynasty ornate china. However, with the help of review websites like yelp.com, it is no longer impossible to find those little rarities of life, and all within a close vicinity of home.

Yelp.com, known just as Yelp!, makes searching for local shops, restaurants, doctors and jobs seem like playtime. As addicting as websites like Facebook and Myspace, yelp.com allows views to “Talk,” “Message” and create a profile with pictures and descriptions of themselves. However, these features can only be used if the viewer has an account with Yelp!. To create an account, the viewer must give their name, e-mail address and zip code. After creating a password, viewers can explore the site thoroughly. As soon as the viewer signs in, the front page of the website instantly pulls up reviews of local restaurants and businesses, a fast way to find the best reviewed places within miles of home. Underneath that, a box labeled “Today in Talk” gives the latest conversation titles and how long ago they took place. This part of the site is handy because it does not only contain reviews and suggestions, but can answer questions like “It is safe to eat sushi when pregnant?” or “How do I tell if the waiter is hitting on me?”

If the viewer continues to scroll down on the homepage, they will find a section labeled “Best of Yelp.” This allows the view to see the top-rate places in each of the different categories the site has.

The site has 22 different categories, including Health and Medical, Religious Organizations and Nightlife. The view also has the option of searching the site by city or the specific name of a desired location. For example, after typing in Los Altos into the search toolbar at the top of the page, top-rated shops, restaurants and even car mechanics arrange themselves like magic.

The site also has a section called Popular Events where “yelpers” (as website members are called) can list what is going on in the neighborhood this weekend, month or season. Topics on this portion can range from public birthday parties for 30-year-old bachelors to local league sporting events to Asian American Film Festivals happening on March 22 at 7 p.m., if anyone was interested.