This was just a kind of throwaway in the Yelp S-1 and I’ve been wanting to write about it since it was published more than a week ago: “Our mobile app accounted for approximately 40% of all searches on our platform for the quarter ended September 30, 2011.” (Emphasis added.)
A year ago it was 35%. On Google about 30% of restaurant queries come from mobile.
Forty percent is a remarkable stat. It shows how much smartphones are rapidly changing the Internet and how content is accessed. It also reflects the degree to which Yelp’s business has become dependent on mobile.
Google and Foursquare among others are gunning for that traffic. As a business that isn’t native to mobile (in the way that Foursquare is for example) Yelp has tried to straddle the PC and mobile worlds. For example it won’t let you write and publish a review entirely from your device.
The company doesn’t want “LOL” and other such “textisms” to sneak into and pollute the quality of reviews, which is the entire Yelp franchise. However I suspect that policy will ultimately change as Yelp further embraces a mobile-centric future.