The Washington Post sure does like Yelp

At least today’s story has a hook: Yelp just announced another round of funding, raising $15 million not because it needs the cash but because, per CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, “it’s a shaky world out there.”  Well, OK.

TechCrunch tosses out a valuation of $200 million on revenue of less than $10 million, and notes (correctly) that Yelp has been on a traffic tear lately.  Still not profitable, says the Post.

One interesting thing was the photo:

This is a local Virginia business giving some TLC to a group of the ‘Yelp Elite,’ which is Yelp’s clubby moniker for those it has anointed as cool kids.

I’m not a fan of the Yelp Elite concept, in part because it works only for twentysomethings, but there’s no doubt it drives engagement.  Smart businesses like this health club in McLean are leveraging that engagement, while Yelp acts as the broker.

I don’t think this strategy will prove cost-effective for Yelp, but it’s definitely interesting to watch.

I continue to be fascinated, too, by the way Yelp has become a platform for self-expression.  Above all, I believe, the ‘Elite’ visits Yelp in order to write artful reviews—not to read them.

It’s a different dynamic than the one we’re trying to tap at Loladex, where the substance of people’s opinions will take precedence over their mode of expression.  We think this will scale better, but it’s certainly tough to argue with how Yelp is doing so far.