Yelp.com (NYSE: YELP) is a customer review website founded in San Francisco in 2004. It focuses on gaining local people together so that to connect people with local business. Up to now, ‘Yelp communities have taken root in major metros across the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Australia’ (Yelp.com, 2013) and many other countries. As a typical product of web 2.0 (ref?), Yelp has excellent interactive characters which allow users to seek information for all kinds of local serves, and at the same time to post their own reviews about a specific service after experience it. Yelp.com now have more than 40 million registered users called Yelpers from all over the world,
…show more content…
Uses and gratifications theory can be seen as a ‘functionalist’ theory of society because it contends that audiences approach texts out of a purposeful desire to satisfy or “gratify” necessary persona and social needs or, indeed, to “use” media for a variety of purposeful and rational ends within a comprehensible and explicable model of social activity (Long and Wall, 2009:244)
Since Use and gratification ‘assume the audience brought their own needs and desires to the process of making sense of media messages’(Williams, 2001:177), according to McQuail, the key theorist and proselytiser of ‘use and gratification theory’, there are four categories of audience: surveillance, personal identity, personal relationships and diversion.(Long and Wall, 2009:244-245) In the case of Yelp.com, all the four types of audience can be found, and they will be analysed one after another in the following paragraphs.
Aiming to examine why individuals use the website Yelp.com, an online survey completed by male and female Yelp.com users who were 18 and over have been done mainly by Department of Communication Studies, Chapman