Yelp doesn't need Google, but Google could use Yelp

Online directory service turns down massive acquisition bid

Let's just assume for a minute that Yelp doesn't need the US$550 million that Google reportedly offered it in a failed acquisition attempt.

That eye-popping amount (from where I'm sitting) aside, what would Yelp have gained from the Google deal that TechCrunch is reporting? Not much.

Let's first consider search, which according to Alexa accounts for roughly two out of every five Yelp visitors. Yelp has great Google mojo — that is, its results are already way up in Google's page rankings. Case in point: Yelp's page for the coffee shop from which I'm working is the first result in a Google search for its name plus "Los Angeles." When I search for the competing coffee shop down the street, its result is second, behind the shop's official Web site. Even in cases where Google has its own directory page for the business, Yelp is right behind it.

I'm a regular Yelp user now, but I got that way because its search ranking is so phenomenal, and its information is so valuable, so now I just go straight to the source (or I use the iPhone app). If Google somehow integrated Yelp into its own business searches, the improvement would be minimal.

Then there's the overall social nature of Yelp to consider. All those people that power the site's business and restaurant reviews? They're regular visitors who for one reason or another are motivated to contribute to the discussion. Just as you don't visit Facebook via search, the people who make Yelp what it is are headed there directly. Once again, there's little Google could do to improve that.

That's not to say Google wouldn't want Yelp. The potential is there for Google to integrate Yelp results into its Maps searches, or build those results right into Android. It'd be an easy way for Google to improve its own business directory, whose reviews come from a mish-mash of other sites including CitySearch and OpenTable, and at times is more sparse than Yelp's pages. I wouldn't mind seeing some integration with Google Maps, but it's not essential. After all, the map-searching process usually comes after you've consulted lots of Yelp reviews, and the maps on Yelp's Web site come from Google anyway.

We don't yet know why Yelp reportedly walked away from a Google deal. It could've been other suitors, or there might've been something in the deal that Yelp didn't like, and of course there's a chance the report itself is inaccurate. But if Yelp wants to stay independent, that'd be fine by me.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Googleyelp

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?