Yelp testing 1-day sales of local coupons

Aug 27, 2010 By RACHEL METZ , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Review website Yelp said Thursday that it is testing out "Yelp Deals" - large discounts at local businesses that site users can buy on one day only.

The move comes as sites such as Groupon have gotten extremely popular by combining social media with the power of group buying, offering daily deals on products and services in their communities. With Groupon, however, the deals are only made active once a certain number of people in a city have agreed to participate.

In Yelp's case, there is no minimum participant requirement. Right now, is just testing the service in San Diego and it isn't currently offering one deal each day. It has offered two deals so far: one at a spa and another at a Yoga studio.

The Yoga studio deal was offered to users on Thursday, giving them five yoga classes for $30 - $35 off the normal price at The Little Yoga Studio. Revenue from the is divided between Yelp and the participating business, though Yelp isn't saying what percentage each party gets.

Yelp spokeswoman Stephanie Ichinose said Yelp decided to test Yelp Deals in San Diego since it is one of the company's oldest and most mature markets. Yelp plans to test the feature out in San Francisco and New York in the coming weeks, and, depending on how that goes, more cities may be added.

Ichinose said Yelp is delving into the deals market because consumers are often already intending to make some sort of purchase when they go to Yelp to check out a business reviewed on the site. And businesses have asked how they can offer discounts to Yelp users.

Yelp now allows businesses to list specials on their Yelp pages, such as a discount being offered for joining a health club when you mention the review site, which are teased on the site's front page.

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