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Google and Yelp are in advanced acquisition negotiations, we’ve confirmed from multiple sources. And while the deal isn’t done, we’ve heard that it’s very likely to close. The price is supposedly at least $500 million.
Yelp is an online source for consumer reviews that is growing at a rate of about one million unique users a month and is seen as the place to find out about businesses ranging from doctors to restaurants from people who have used the services or eaten the food. Revenue comes from advertisers looking for that consumer audience known as Yelpers who write the positive and negative reviews. The idea for the company founded in 2004 in San Francisco, Calif, began with a question faced by many people, says Luther Lowe, manager of local business outreach at Yelp: “How do you find a trustworthy doctor online if you’re moving to a new city?” That question posed by co-founders Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons has generated more than seven million consumer reviews posted online at Yelp, which has spread to dozens of cities in 35 states plus Washington, D.C.
Before there was Gowalla or Foursquare, there was location-based social network Loopt. Launched in 2006, Loopt was one of the pioneers of the location-based mobile social network. And Loopt has gained a huge number of users of its mobile apps; the social network currently has 3 million mobile users, 1 million of which are on the iPhone. Compared to Foursquare and Gowalla, which have 150,000 and 50,000 users respectively, Loopt has a pretty significant user base. More recently, Loopt upgraded its mobile offerings to offer a check-in where you can also review a place and help recommend things for your friends to do, called Pulse.
Jeremy Stoppleman , the CEO of Yelp , has walked away from an all-but-signed deal to be acquired by Google for more than half a billion dollars . The deal was, as we wrote late last week, in the later stages of negotiation. The two companies had agreed on a price – around $550 million plus earnouts – and were working through the final details of the acquisition. Then something happened that made Yelp reconsider the deal. Over the weekend they notified Google that they were not going to sell, say multiple sources. So what made the deal go sideways?
Location based social network Foursquare is the darling of the media's eye these days and appears to be growing very fast. Rumors are growing louder that Netscape co-founder Marc Andreesen's venture capital fund is about to invest in the startup and the company now reports that it sees "100,000 new users every 10 days." Is old-school local social network Yelp scared? No, says Eric Singley, Yelp's Director of Consumer and Mobile Products. Singley told us he finds Foursquare's user numbers "hard to quantify" and said "they don't blow my mind."
Local reviews powerhouse Yelp has announced that it’s taking a $25 million investment from Elevation Partners, who will also “seek to increase its total investment in Yelp to $100 million through a planned purchase of shares from vested employees and other eligible shareholders,” according to a statement from the company. The investment comes at a time when local is red hot, with Yelp looking to capitalize further on it by expanding its mobile presence across platforms and introducing features like “check-ins” that help lend credibility to user reviews. The company cites mobile app development as one of its uses for the new funding, and an updated Android app with check-in features is expected within the next couple weeks. Yelp says that it passed 26 million unique visitors in December, while we recently reported that the site now features more than 9 million total user reviews. <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
Last week, the battle for your check-ins took an interesting new turn as Yelp rolled out a set of location features for its iPhone app . Today, Yelp’s expanding the feature to include check-in information alongside user reviews on its website. With that small step, you can see exactly why check-ins are such a big deal for Yelp, and a big threat to upstarts like Foursquare and Gowalla.
December 30, 2009 by wilsonllkerr Wilson Kerr is the founder of LBS consulting firm Location Based Strategy, LLC. On December 21 st , as we all got ready for the 2009 Holiday “unplug”, it was reported that local business rating and review information aggregator Yelp rejected a hefty $500+Million takeover offer from Google. Bold move, but why did they walk away? No one seems to be certain.
Om’s note: I wrote this long before the rumors about Google buying Yelp for $500 million started flying around. In my post from today that breaks down the Yelp-Google deal, I explain why it is a good move for Yelpers to take the money and run. I also say that it is a good move for Google in the short term. Over the long term, value of Yelp is limited. The cold and damp December weather has taken hold here in San Francisco.
Earlier today, we noted that an update to Google Maps for Mobile was the clearest sign yet of Google going directly after Yelp . But it’s actually even more interesting than we thought. Key to the new Google Maps for Mobile is Places, the new establishment-centric area which Google has been building up for about the past year or so.