Upping the ante in the daily deals game, Yelp announced today that it will now let small-business owners offer gift certificates directly from their profile pages.
These gift certificates don't come with any sort of discount; they're just a simple way for users to buy cash presents for their friends, family, or colleagues. Yelp came up with this idea after a testing phase where it found that keeping deals separate from gift certificates is important because most people don't like to give discounted products as a present.
Here's how Yelp explained the new feature in a blog post:
Gift certificates are not discounted like Deals are. They're full-value cash equivalents. For example: I buy you a $100 gift certificate to the hottest restaurant in town (for your 40th birthday, poor thing), it costs me $100 (and is worth every cent), and is valid for $100 worth of drink and food (in that order) at said eatery. Easy, right?
Yelp rolled out Yelp Deals a year ago, which is similar to the Groupon model. But Groupon has yet to offer a gift certificate program like what Yelp launched today. This could increase competition between the two companies, especially since Yelp already has built-in relationships with local business and a loyal user base.