Yelp Replaces Yahoo! Local

At a recent meeting at Yahoo, in which the company sought to correct the impression that it was “done” in search, I asked about the status of Yahoo! Maps and Yahoo! Local.

Yahoo! was originally the innovator in these areas but eventually ceded them to Google and Microsoft amid internal turmoil and budget decisions. During that meeting Yahoo! said it recognized the importance of these areas and would be reinvesting (especially given their importance in mobile).

At SMX West yesterday I moderated the “Ask the Local Search Engines” panel. That panel was supposed to feature Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft. But Yahoo! pulled its speaker citing scheduling conflicts. I was totally amazed that the company didn’t provide a substitute speaker. At the very last minute I got Yelp to come in.

The session was great — the Q&A was 45 minutes — and Yelp’s presence gave the conversation some interesting new energy and direction,  about reviews and the challenges on the SMB side as well as the publisher side of managing the process. It also struck me that the unexpected change was symbolic of Yelp’s rise and Yahoo!’s unfortunate decline in the local space.

Yelp is now more important than Yahoo! Local to businesses and consumers.

I hope that Yahoo! does reinvest and makes Yahoo! Local more prominent again, however I’m not holding my breath.

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7 Responses to “Yelp Replaces Yahoo! Local”

  1. Will Scott says at

    Greg,

    I’m with you. I hope Yahoo! regains prominence in this arena. Whether warranted or not, Yahoo! has had much less of the concern regarding best-interest of the advertiser.

    Will

  2. Dennis says at

    Completely agree with Greg regarding his surprise for the lack of a substitute speaker. We are literally NEXT DOOR to their operation.

    Although Greg, let’s plug in someone from Internet Yellow Pages next time too…. :)

  3. Matt Siltala says at

    Unless Yahoo gets a clue and provides something as useful as say, the Yelp iPhone App in the mobile/local arena – its not gonna happen. Its easy to hate Yelp from their business side, sure – but the people who are driving the traffic are doing so because its such an awesome community to be a part of. Yahoo has given us nothing to be excited about.

  4. Chuck Reynolds says at

    @WIll – if Yahoo can do ANYTHING good in the future I’d be happy.

    I really do hope they can regain prominence in local – the built up site explorer to be at least usable but their whole deal with the devil (aka bing/m$ft) is questionable and is still a guessing game as to how that’s going to affect the atmosphere.

  5. Greg Sterling says at

    Dennis:

    I didn’t make the decision re who to have on this panel other than Yelp. Originally it was supposed to be limited to the “big three.” There were a ton of others who sent me emails about being on . . .

    Agree that there are lots of others in the local space who can/could add value.

  6. SearchCap: The Day In Search, March 3, 2010 says at

    […] Yelp Replaces Yahoo! Local, gesterling.wordpress.com […]

  7. Marc says at

    Yeah, I am surprised how strong Yelp (and a host of similar sites) became in such a short time and but what really seems interesting is that extortion scheme their involved in now.

  8. Dennis says at

    Thanks for the clarification, Greg. Definitely enjoyed the session.

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