Google’s Pigeon Update Solves Yelp Problem, Boosts Local Directories

google-yelp-maps-600 As the analysis continues on yesterday's Google local search algorithm changes -- that we're calling the Pigeon update -- one thing appears to be clear: Local directory sites are getting better visibility in Google's search results. More specifically, it looks like Google has fixed its "Yelp problem" and is now showing Yelp pages at the top of search results when queries specifically include the word "Yelp." You might recall Yelp's recent accusations that Google was manipulating its search results to show Google's own local listings and content ahead of Yelp pages even when users sp [...]


Yelp Trends Tool Reveals Ten Years Of Local Reviews Data

Yelp Trends Yelp is ten years old this year. Since 2004 the company says that it has collected 57 million reviews from users in nearly 100 cities in more than 20 countries. Yelp is now making that data accessible through a new Yelp Trends tool. Similar to Google Trends but more narrowly focused, the Yelp tool allows users to compare the popularity of up to three keywords or phrases over time. These can also be brands or product names. For example, I've compared the relative mentions of three high-end San Francisco restaurants and further below three vodka brands. According to Yelp's blog post th [...]


Leaked Documents Show How Yelp Thinks It’s Not Getting Screwed By Google

yelp-logo-featured Yelp may once again feel Google is robbing it of its fair share of search traffic, with a study that's been leaked to TechCrunch to prove it. A close read of that study actually shows that it proves the opposite -- or at least, that it's certainly not as damning as it sounds. Leaked Documents Show How Yelp Thinks It’s Getting Screwed By Google is the story over at TechCrunch out today with the study. I've taken my own headline from that to do this contrarian view. Let me say from the start that Google does a lot of things that I think puts it in conflict with publishers. How Google We [...]


Yelp Joins Effort To Undo Current Google-EU Antitrust Settlement

yelp-600 Yelp has been an increasingly vocal critic of Google for several years. Now it has joined a group of companies opposing the European Commission's current antitrust settlement proposal with Google. Originally Google and Yelp were partners. Google unsuccessfully tried to buy Yelp for a rumored $500 million a year or so before the company went public. Later Yelp complained that Google was including Yelp reviews in its own local product without permission. According to Yelp, Google said it couldn't remove those reviews without removing Yelp from the index entirely. The dispute was ultimately res [...]


Survey Says Yelp The Most Influential Local Review Site

yelp-logo-featured Yelp says it's the most frequently used, most trusted and highest quality local reviews site, according to new Nielsen survey data. Some of those data were released on the company's official blog two days ago. Beyond Yelp, the universe of competitors included in the survey were the following: Angie's List Citysearch OpenTable TripAdvisor YP Zagat The survey was commissioned by Yelp and conducted by Nielsen using a sample of just over 1,000 US users of review sites. The survey featured 22 questions in all. Only a few of the results were released. The sample was weighted for [...]


Amazon Fire Phone: Bing For Search, Nokia For Maps

Amazon Maps logo The emerging consensus from the early "hands on" or "first look" reviews is that the Amazon Fire Phone has some novel and interesting features but that it doesn't measure up, overall, to the iPhone or "true Android" devices. I've argued that Amazon missed the boat with its high-end pricing. Interestingly, there has been almost no talk about search on the Fire. Gmail, Google Maps, Google Search and other Google apps are not present in the Amazon Store. Users can still get to Google services on a browser of course. But Amazon has erected barriers to using Google on its devices. Among them [...]


Yelp Reports Q1 2014 Net Revenue At $76.4 Million, A 66% Growth Over Last Year’s Q1 Earnings

yelp-logo-featured According to Yelp's Q1 2014 earnings report, the company's net revenue for the quarter totaled $76.4 million, representing a 66 percent growth over first quarter of last year. Yelp claims average monthly unique visitors climbed to 132 million, representing 30 percent year-over-year growth, and local business accounts reached 74,000, a 65 percent year-over-year growth rate. Monthly mobile unique visitors was up even more with 52 percent year-over-year growth reaching 61 million. Yelp claims 35 percent of its new reviews for the quarter were submitted via a mobile device. "In the first [...]


Content Free: 25 Percent Of Google+ Reviews Are “Empty”

online-reviews-featured Investment firm Piper Jaffray has started tracking and comparing Google+ and Yelp reviews. For its inaugural report, the firm looked at a "snapshot of 950 places in 20 major cities" and compared review counts and depth across categories. The firm says it will continue to do so on a weekly basis going forward. Yelp holds a significant lead in coverage and review counts according to the report (embedded below). The main findings reveal some interesting things: Yelp has an average of 142 reviews per location; Google+ averages 69 reviews Out of 950 places examined in the report, Google [...]


WSJ: Local Businesses Losing Reviews After Yelp-Yahoo Deal

yahoo-yelp-600 The recent Yelp/Yahoo partnership has angered some local business owners who say years of positive reviews are now gone from their Yahoo Local business listings. Some of their stories were told this week in the Wall Street Journal, including Colonial Hardwood Flooring of Lexington, Mass. The company says it had built up "six years of mostly positive feedback" on its Yahoo Local listing, but now it only shows one Yelp review that was posted on February 14, 2014. Colonial Hardwood's owner tells the WSJ that "it's a slap in the face that they took all those reviews down overnight." A [...]


Yelp and YP Enter Into “Strategic” Content, Distribution Partnership

YP + Yelp YP and Yelp have announced a strategic partnership that will in the near future provide YP advertisers with an enhanced presence on Yelp and effectively bring Yelp into the YP Local Ad Network. There is probably a revenue sharing deal in the background but the parties declined to discuss terms. Yelp has existing content deals with Yahoo, Bing, Apple and others. However, this YP deal is quite different than those, which are mainly about the inclusion of Yelp reviews content in local search results. Under the terms of this deal, as I understand them, YP advertisers will gain access to the [...]


Yahoo Goes Live With Yelp Local Reviews

yahoo-featured Last month the Wall Street Journal reported that Yelp reviews were being integrated into Yahoo search results. This morning Yahoo formally announced the partnership: Now when you use Yahoo Search to look up a local business in the U.S. on your smartphone, tablet, or PC, you’ll see user reviews, business information, and star ratings from Yelp. We’ve also added a new photo viewing experience to show high-quality photos from Yelp, other partners, and the businesses themselves. The information is equally available from Yahoo Search and Maps. When you click on "read all  . . .  reviews" or [...]


Time For SMBs To Tackle – Or Be Tackled By – Online Reviews

reviews-240px So much of search focuses on being found. But being found doesn’t do much good unless you’re also chosen. The only thing worse than not being found is being found and rejected from consideration. There’s no doubt that online reviews play an increasingly central role in the consumer path to purchase. Research consistently shows that the vast majority of consumers -- as high as 9 in 10 consumers, in one survey -- say they are being influenced by both positive and negative reviews during their decision process. Yet, despite this clear trend in consumer shopping behavior, a surprising [...]


Yelp Supersizes Its Local Profiles, Makes Them Less Busy

yelp-icon Yelp has redesigned parts of its web UI to make them more visual and to surface more information. In particular business profile pages have been changed to emphasize images, featured user reviews and key pieces of local content, all of which are now more prominent. The changes are not yet live for me, which is a happy event. I was able to capture a "before" image of San Francisco sushi restaurant Tataki South. The "after" view of the profile below is supplied by Yelp. The screenshot below is the same business profile. Information like business hours is easier to see. Review highligh [...]


Yahoo Turns To Yelp To Beef Up Local Search

Yahoo-Yelp deal According to a report appearing today in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Yahoo will be incorporating local content and listings from Yelp into its main search results. As the article points out, Yelp has a similar deal with Microsoft-Bing and, of course, with Apple (maps). Yelp has an API that permits third parties to use a portion of its reviews and local listings content. The Bing deal, announced in June of last year, is a more elaborate version of that with a deeper integration. Below is a screenshot of how Yelp content is shown in Bing search results today: Yahoo has recently sta [...]


Yelp Reports $233 Million In Revenue For 2013, Up 69 Percent From 2012

yelp-logo-featured Yelp released its 4Q 2013 financial results today, reporting end of year net revenue at $233 million, representing 69 percent year-over-year growth from 2012. While delivering the earnings report call, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said, "It was a phenomenal year for Yelp." Yelp's fourth quarter revenue in 2013 totaled $70.7 million, a 72 percent growth rate over 4Q 2012. Yelp also saw 47 percent year-over-year growth in cumulative reviews, with approximately 53 million reviews now on the site. Unique site visitors averaged 120 million per month, representing a 39 percent year-over-year gro [...]


4 Go-Tos To Make Online Reviews Work For Your Business

Yelp profile By now, everyone knows that online reviews can have a tremendous impact on consumers' purchasing decisions. Ultimately, a single review -- positive or negative -- can tip the scale in favor of one company over another. No doubt, the power of reviews on Google+, Yelp, Angie's List and other local search directories continues to mount. Review prominence in search results is also rising, as they often appear for a business just below their company website and make up the majority of the corresponding top 10 search results. Major search and review sites weight online reviews very highly, and [...]


Yelp Turns Up The Heat: 285 Consumer Alerts Issued Over Fake Reviews

yelp-alerts-featured It's been almost a year and a half since Yelp began issuing Consumer Alerts when a business on its site has been caught trying to get fake reviews; but after a cautious start, that program appears to be turning up the heat. According to an interview with CEO Jeremy Stoppelman in The Telegraph, Yelp has now slapped 285 businesses on its website with Consumer Alerts. When Yelp issued its first set of Consumer Alerts in October 2012, only eight local businesses were hit. Then last August, Yelp revealed that it had issued its second round of alerts. No specific numbers were shared, but the c [...]


VA Court Delivers Blow To Yelp, Free Speech Of Users

Yelp logo A Virginia state court of appeal has ruled that Yelp must disclose the real identities of seven individuals who posted anonymous, critical reviews of an Alexandria, Virginia carpet cleaning business, Hadeed Carpet. Yelp and free speech advocacy groups have decried the decision. Hadeed said that he didn't believe that any of the reviews came from actual customers and sued to get Yelp to reveal the identities of the individuals in question. Yelp refused and the court granted Hadeed's lawyer's motion to compel. Yelp appealed and the appellate court affirmed the lower court's ruling (full o [...]


Yelp: We’re Second Only To Google In Local Data Quality

Yelp logo Yelp has long maintained that the company has one of the best (if not the best) local data sets out there. There are third parties that have come up with findings that don't agree with that claim. Recently, Yelp decided to take matters into its own hands and benchmark itself and the quality of its local data against the competition. You can read in detail about Yelp's methodology in its blog post. The abbreviated version is the following: Yelp collected 1,000 US business locations in various categories and locations (including international). Yelp "hand verified" these businesses on [...]


Yelp Q3 2013 Revenue Up 68% At $61.2 Million For The Quarter

Yelp logo Yelp released its Q3 2013 earnings report today, posting a 68 percent growth in revenue from the third quarter of 2012, with net revenue at $61.2 million for the quarter ending on September 30, 2013. Cumulative reviews on Yelp have increased 42 percent year over year, climbing to 47.3 million. Average monthly unique visitors grew 41 percent year over year to 117 million. The number of business accounts on Yelp has grown to 57,200, representing 61 percent year over year growth. "We saw another quarter of strong momentum thanks to high-quality, authentic content contributed by Yelpers arou [...]


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