Jan 192013

Yelp-LogoWall Street Journal article
“Is it Time Local Site Called for Yelp?” (WSJ, 18JAN13)
(also discussed on this WSJ Marketbeat Blog), had a number of interesting insights about local search-and-reviews-firm Yelp and the rapidly-changing local search market:

Shares of Yelp have fallen about 7% since Facebook unveiled its new “Graph Search” tool on Tuesday.  While it may take time to build sufficient depth of content, investors see Facebook’s new capabilities as a potential local search tool.

Google Places is, by far, the biggest threat to Yelp.  While Yelp’s mobile app is used on roughly eight million devices a month, Google Maps was downloaded by more than 10 million iPhone users in the first two days it was available.  According to analysts: “That is a concern as, in the long run, mobile devices will be the most important platform for local content.

– Yelp’s speciality is its database of reviews, with 61% in just two categories, shopping and restaurants.  Google, which has millions of business listings like Yelp, along with great mapping technology, took a big step to catch up in reviews with its 2011 purchase of Zagat Survey.


Our Geek Analysis: Yelp remains a big and important local listing directory, though, unless your business is a restaurant or local retail store, you should first focus on getting local listing presence on Google Places (and Bing and Yahoo).  This will enable you to piggy-back on the Google Maps ubiquity on mobile devices.