Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, in his opening keynote at ILM:10, noted a general frustration with Google’s apparent de-emphasis of Yelp’s content, but said he sees major opportunity in mobile app access as a workaround of Google.
Stoppelman showed an example of a 2007 search that showed the vast majority of results coming from Yelp. “We loved 2007,” he said. A current search has only one Yelp result, although it is on top. The rest come from Google Places, which Stoppelman notes is linking to Yelp, but only waaay at the bottom of the screen.
“It is always tricky when you have a distribution source that wants to get into your business,” said Stoppelman, who said he focuses on leveraging his arsenal of 14 million reviews. “It is an ongoing conversation with Google: ‘Can we get to win-win with our content?'”
He added that Google has been aggressively soliciting content for some time, but for Google, “the content creation hasn’t happened.” It still relies on Yelp “for the majority of content.”
Even if relations with Google don’t improve, however, Yelp doesn’t plan to rely on Google search forever. “The good news is that the industry is changing really, really rapidly. There is a rapid shift to local [apps].”
Yelp currently has 2.6 million unique visitors a month for its mobile apps, said Stoppleman — a small but growing chunk of its overall usage base of 39 million uniques. Mobile “search is so much more intuitive than on desktop. It knows your location. The holy grail of local is suddenly seeing all kinds of information without typing a thing.”
As for monetization, Stoppelman said he is especially excited about providing listings with video. Local search ads on a click-per-call and CPM basis are a big part of Yelp’s revenues also. Stoppelman also sees Yelp’s Weekly deals, currently in eight cities, as holding significant promise.