Google eating Yelp?


Wild, remember when I said Facebook should buy Yelp? I was hoping that Facebook would make a real search play and provide some competition for Google. Looks like my dream didn’t come true and Mike Arrington over at TechCrunch is reporting that Yelp is in final deal stage with Google for about half a billion. Rafat Ali of Paid Content says that that valuation seems low, and I agree. Maybe this is being hung out there to cause a bidding war.

What is at stake here?

Well, when you search for restaurants or businesses on Google, what do you see? Yelp reviews under many of those businesses. But if you are on the iPhone app Yelp makes, what else do you see? Offers from those businesses. THAT is a direct threat on Google’s advertising business (or augmentation if you are looking at it positively).

Recently building43 and I visited Yelp to get an inside look and you can see a lot of their strategy there.

Watch my Twitter list of tech bloggers and journalists to see this story evolve.

Comments

  1. If I was at Foursquare I'd keep executing and doing something different than Yelp has. There are other companies that will need an onramp to local business market. But Fourquare and Gowalla have to execute and build something of value like Yelp has.

  2. right, but i was thinking that because yelp is integrated into foursquare
    that google might disallow that in order to use their own systems like
    latitude or something in that realm to take foursqaure and gowalla on
    directly.

    z

  3. You shouldn't laugh at anyone's dream, but I don't know how you would dream one company other than Google would buy Yelp. For your sake, I really hope you have bigger dreams than Yelp being acquired! I would more so call it a hope. I hope Google buys a lot of great companies that have the mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Yelp should definitely not sell to Google unless they offer at least a billion. It seems like Google wants to take on this space of geo location ratings, but why just give it to them. Yelp, could easily shop this one around to a few buyers such as Microsoft, Google, eBay, Amazon, etc. Yeah, Google might be the dream company to get acquired by, but there are plenty of great companies out there.

  4. Nah, Foursquare and Latitude are quite different. But maybe I should worry more. I don't think a lot of Foursquare's traffic is dependent on Yelp anyway. The links are pretty loose there so far.

  5. so google is all about local in 2010… wow yelp… I think foursquare is in trouble….. search+yelp+real time new toy…. wow sounds like google will tell me the best restaurant with my android phone ……

  6. I don't think Foursquare is in trouble at all. They come at the world completely differently than Yelp does. I use both Yelp and Foursquare for completely different reasons.

  7. me too but …. because there is a but… yelp can be way more social and real time like foursquare… I think google view that potential…

  8. Interesting move. Huge database of local info + large user base + location aware controlled h/ware device (Nexus)+QR codes rolling out to pull up venue info and enable checkins on Latitude .. tie that all to your ad and analytics networks. Nice.

  9. This tied in with Google Local Business Center and then pitvhing all these companies more adwords and ad management it seems like a decent play :).

    I would hope they would be a bit more open than Yelp has been about removing negative reviews, that has always tempered my excitement for the service.

  10. The problem with Yelp is credibility. Worse case it’s a protection racket re: “pay to false bad reviews”. Google can either fix or sink into the Yelp quagmire.

  11. i know you're not saying that goog is paying half a billion just for the iphone app. so what is the real property of worth here?

    honestly, i think review sites have a lot of room to improve. especially in food where my four stars can be incredibly different from your four stars.

  12. Another product they will chew up, vomit out and rathole forever.

    After too much of Yelp and 'Jimmy-John's-is-sooo-cool type of YouTube commenter' reviews…such will have you fast reaching for Fodor's and Zagat. Google Yelpslog, now with annoying “relevant” text ads taking up 1/3 of the pages, with GoogleStanfordArrogantSalesGoons, doing mafiaoso-like “will make bad reviews happen” threats unless you advertise. A “wisdom of the crowds” spew freebasing on top of a broken advertising engine, authoritative such be not.

  13. Another product they will chew up, vomit out and rathole forever.

    After too much of Yelp and 'Jimmy-John's-is-sooo-cool type of YouTube commenter' reviews…such will have you fast reaching for Fodor's and Zagat. Google Yelpslog, now with annoying “relevant” text ads taking up 1/3 of the pages, with GoogleStanfordArrogantSalesGoons, doing mafiaoso-like “will make bad reviews happen” threats unless you advertise. A “wisdom of the crowds” spew freebasing on top of a broken advertising engine, authoritative such be not.

  14. Yet another story of how an innovative start-up is eaten up by Google which is eating it not to build up that institution and its functions, but to kill it off from competing.

    This means we never get a diversity and plurality of these social media institutions and always wind up defaulting to Google or big IT companies subserviant to Google.

    The functions don't survive the acquisition, and the feature that Scoble mentioned that competed with Google's business is obviously killed, even if the user enjoyed it.

    All social media seems to strive for this state of being eaten by Google or Yahoo or a few other giant companies. It gives the lie to the whole premise that social media is “for the people”.

  15. Yet another story of how an innovative start-up is eaten up by Google which is eating it not to build up that institution and its functions, but to kill it off from competing.

    This means we never get a diversity and plurality of these social media institutions and always wind up defaulting to Google or big IT companies subserviant to Google.

    The functions don't survive the acquisition, and the feature that Scoble mentioned that competed with Google's business is obviously killed, even if the user enjoyed it.

    All social media seems to strive for this state of being eaten by Google or Yahoo or a few other giant companies. It gives the lie to the whole premise that social media is “for the people”.

  16. Yet another story of how an innovative start-up is eaten up by Google which is eating it not to build up that institution and its functions, but to kill it off from competing.

    This means we never get a diversity and plurality of these social media institutions and always wind up defaulting to Google or big IT companies subserviant to Google.

    The functions don't survive the acquisition, and the feature that Scoble mentioned that competed with Google's business is obviously killed, even if the user enjoyed it.

    All social media seems to strive for this state of being eaten by Google or Yahoo or a few other giant companies. It gives the lie to the whole premise that social media is “for the people”.

  17. Sort of surprised they valued Yelp at that price…seems like the Google team could have whipped out a local rating site for far less than that. Must be something I'm missing.

  18. Looks like Google is on shopping spree. They got AdMob. Missed lala. Before something happens, they want to get hold of Yelp.

  19. Yelp makes more sense with Google than with Facebook. Facebook ruin and kill companies, don't you see what happened to Friendfeed? And who the hell talks about Friendfeed now, Facebook has a demented mind, they are really not worth buying Yelp

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  22. sounds like they pulled the plug on the deal and you comment about looking to start a bidding war might just e right, There are very few threats to Google but one area where there are threats are local business listings and if they did snap up Yelp for 500 mill and take them out of the game it would probably seem like a very decent bit of business in about 2/3 years time when small hyper local advertising rules.