Yelp rolls out gift certificates for local businesses

Some people find it tacky to give coupons as a gift. To fix this, Yelp is launching a new feature that lets small-business owners offer gift cards straight from their profile pages.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
Example of what Yelp's gift certificate feature looks like. Yelp

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.