Last week, Yelp announced the imminent roll-out of video reviews from “Elite” Yelpers. Yelp’s mobile product manager Madhu Prabaker described the new feature, due in early June, as a way to provide “a reward for businesses that go to great lengths to achieve a certain ambiance.”
But Prabaker’s comments are almost certainly bullshit. First off, Yelp is not known for rewarding businesses at any level. Second, Yelp has a serious, life-or-death(-of-the-company) stake in publishing real and useful customer reviews amid a tide of fakes, and video is a perfect medium by which to weed out the spam. (You really don’t see much video spam, do you?) Prabaker is no doubt deflecting attention from this more serious justification for video reviews–just in case the feature fails.
But enough about Yelp’s survival or lack thereof. The really interesting question here is: what in the world will a Yelp video review look like? Will it just be Real Actors Read Yelp without the irony or the high production values? Or will reviewers actually produce some real value for fellow users of the service?
Here, without further ado, is an optimistic look at what a Yelp video review can be, brought to you by American food critic Big Daym with his review of Five Guys Burgers and Fries–though you’ll have to imagine it crunched down to 12 seconds. (At launch, Yelp video reviewers will be limited to 3 to 12 seconds, a Vinesque constraint that may prove too, er, constrained for Yelp’s ultimate vision, but a nice low bar to discover if Yelpers have the appetite to participate.) Enjoy!