Infographic: The Incredible Six-Year History of Yelp Reviews

Everyone is always talking about how quickly the big social networks -- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. -- are growing. And, right under our nose, we've missed it: Another network has been expanding wildly without receiving the same kind of attention.

Yelp isn't like the traditional social networks, but visit its pages and you'll see that Yelpers, as they call themselves, act as a community, bouncing thoughts off of each other and reviewing each others' reviews. In some ways, it can feel more like a community than some of the biggest players in this space. How many of your tweets go unanswered? How many of your Yelp reviews go unreviewed?

Yelp now receives 53 million unique visitors every month. On July 11, 2011, the website, which was founded just six years ago, posted its 20 millionth review. That puts it on track to hit 24 million by the end of 2011, a huge increase from the 15 million it had at the end of 2010. And, as Mashable noted, "as its review inventory grows to gargantuan proportions, it only makes the site even more powerful."

Infographics are always a bit of a hodgepodge of statistics culled from a variety of sources. Here, we sort through the clutter and pull out some of our favorite facts and figures:

  • The first review submitted to Yelp was four stars for Truly Mediterranean. On October 12, 2004, Katherine W. wrote four words: "dirt cheap, good falafels."
  • The one millionth review was also four stars, this time for Ocean Beach. Ricky C. raved about Ocean Beach on May 5, 2007, adding 299 words to the website's database.
  • By May 2008, the site, which launched in mid-2005, was generating 10 million unique visitors every month. Over the next year, the service would launch in Canada, the U.K. and Ireland.
  • The total number of reviews submitted to the site has grown with the number of visitors. In June 2011, Yelp brought in 53 million unique visitors to its sites.
  • On June 27, 2011, 32,425 reviews were added to Yelp in one 24-hour period, adding to the 2.2 billion-plus words that can be found on the site. If you were to read all of those words -- all of those reviews -- out loud, it would take 42 years without stopping for anything, even sleep. All of the restaurant reviews on Yelp could fill 16,894 Zagat Guides.

Check out more Infographics on the Technology Channel.


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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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