Yelp co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said earlier this month that the business directory and crowdsourced review forum would debut a free searchable attribute to make it easier for users to find and support Black-owned businesses, and that feature will make its debut Thursday.
The company teamed up with My Black Receipt, a movement to spur consumers to spend $5 million at Black-owned businesses between Juneteenth (June 19) and July 4, to roll out the Black-owned business attribute.
The feature is available free-of-charge, and businesses must opt-in to use it.
They can do so by visiting Yelp for Business via desktop or mobile, clicking edit next to “known for,” clicking yes next to “Black-owned” and saving the changes.
Once this is done, visitors to the Yelp business page will see that the business is Black-owned in the “Amenities” section on the web or the “More info” section in the iOS and Android applications.
And when a Yelp user searches for Black-owned businesses, a gem will appear next to the business name in the search results.
Yelp said the Black-owned business attribute has been the most requested feature from its community, noting that over a two-week period, from May 27 through June 10, the frequency of searches for Black-owned businesses skyrocketed by 35 times versus the same time period last year.
Yelp said Black business owners took a worse hit from the coronavirus pandemic than any other racial group, with the number of working Black business owners falling 40% during the Covid-19 crisis.
The company also cited data from the Brookings Institute showing that the net worth of a typical white family in the U.S., $171,000, was nearly 10 times more than that of a typical Black family in the country ($17,150), adding that the disparity is caused by discrimination, inequality and an opportunity gap.
Black upstart CEO and My Black Receipt lead organizer Kezia M. Williams said in a statement, “This is the first digital initiative to challenge Black consumers and allies to buy from a Black-owned business and upload their receipt into a platform that publicly displays how individual purchases can make a collective impact. We know that recirculation of dollars through Black businesses has multiplier effects, just like it did in Black Wall Streets across the country. Black businesses hire Black, create Black products, give to Black causes and pass down assets to Black families.”