Yelp Courts Developers With New Tools for Integration

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Accessing high-quality local data has been a longstanding challenge for developers in the hyperlocal space. Now Yelp is launching a revamped developer portal designed to give hyperlocal vendors greater access to local content throughout more than 30 international markets.

The Yelp Fusion developer program, which launches this morning, includes tools for developers to build with the Yelp Fusion API and Yelp’s local data, along with additional integrations. An updated developer portal will give developers better access to search more than 50 million local businesses across 32 countries, with the ability to add Yelp ratings, reviews, and photos to their mobile apps.

“The incredible growth in mobile combined with emerging devices and services that want to have local awareness has created an incredibly strong demand for Yelp content and Yelp search,” said Chad Richard, Yelp’s senior vice president of business and corporate development. “More than half of mobile searches have local intent and we think it’s a good time to make our data more accessible for developers who want to build a local layer into their mobile products.”

Although this isn’t the first time Yelp has opened up access to its local content — the company has offered a free and public API since 2007 — it marks the beginning of Yelp’s emerging focus on creating more robust programs aimed squarely at developers and partners.

“Overall, it’s the right time for us to double down on our developer program and give developers and partners more tools and data to work with,” Richard said.

In addition to accessing local data through the API, developers will now have the ability to search filters for price level and open hours, cache content for up to 24 hours, access more original photos and review excerpts, and use autocomplete for keywords, business names, and categories searches. Developers will also be able to find transactable businesses in the food delivery category with data from Yelp Eat24 and partners like, ChowNow, EatStreet, and foodjunky.

With its trove of local content, Yelp believes it is unique positioned to become a leader in the space. Richard cites a long list of brands, including the likes of Apple, Twitter, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, using Yelp’s API to build localized experiences. Overhauling the API to give developers a better experience while accessing that data is the next logical step for a company with a monthly average of 69 million unique visitors (via mobile web) and more than 108 million local reviews.

“Not only has Yelp usage been growing year-over-year — app unique devices grew 27% year over year to approximately 23 million on a monthly average basis as of Q2 2016 — but we’re receiving more requests from companies to integrate Yelp data and partner with us,” Richard said.

Yelp Fusion is just one of a number of new initiatives that have been launched by Yelp this year. Back in June, the company announced a new CPC program at Street Fight Summit West, and just before that the company extended its online booking capabilities with platform partners.

With Yelp Fusion, local content and data is being used by number of hyperlocal heavyweights in verticals that run the gamut from in-car navigation to augmented reality, messaging, and transportation, including Logitech’s ZeroTouch, Graphiq, and Blippar. The caller ID and call blocker app Hiya is using the Yelp Fusion API to give mobile users a way to search for local businesses within its app. Meanwhile, an iOS app called Bar Roulette is taking advantage of Yelp and Uber to help mobile users get to top rated bars in their areas.

“It’s not solely about mobile apps anymore — local data stretches to more areas, [like] messaging, AR, assistants, IoT,” Richard said. “We’re thrilled to participate in all of these rapidly emerging areas, while also providing consumers with fun, useful and cool new ways to benefit from Yelp content.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.