Yelp Becomes the Local Reviews Standard

Yelp announced a deal with Microsoft’s Bing this morning. The deal features a deeper integration of Yelp’s content into Bing’s local business profile pages than is otherwise available to Yelp API users.

I’m confident this was a response (by Bing) to Google’s incorporation of Zagat content into its new Google+ Local pages and perhaps to a lesser degree to Apple’s recent local search announcements that partly involve Yelp.

Even though there are lots of local review sources, Yelp has now emerged as the local reviews “brand.” (I’d love for people to argue with me on that). In other words, Yelp is now the dominant brand associated with local reviews — certainly in restaurants if not across the board.

It’s not clear how many people land on Bing’s local pages (I suspect the traffic is relatively small). However the deal is still a relatively high profile one and, together with the Apple local content relationship, will cheer Yelp’s investors.

The integration is rolling out starting today but the pages aren’t live yet. So, here’s a Yelp-provided screenshot I also used in my piece over at SEL (the arrows and commentary are mine):

Questions for you:

  • Do the Bing and Apple deals firmly establish Yelp as the clear leader in local reviews (as I believe they do)?
  • Will this Bing integration benefit Microsoft in any way or is this merely a way to keep from falling further behind Google and potentially Apple (going forward)?
  • Other thoughts?

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10 Responses to “Yelp Becomes the Local Reviews Standard”

  1. David Hall says at

    Has anybody done a study to see how much reviews actually impact a users decision to frequent a business? I can see them in a tight circle of “friends” whose tastes I know but I have never understood the fascination with reviews by complete strangers. I am always more concerned with the accuracy of the business data I am looking at online. I still see a lot of out of date or just incorrect data.

  2. Eric says at

    @David –

  3. Adam says at

    Yelp is still seriously lacking when it comes to reviews of local service providers, e.g. contractors. ServiceMagic and Angie’s List still seem to have the lock on that vertical. Yelp will have to fundamentally shift its model in order to gather reviews at scale around these categories that are not inherently social in nature. 

  4. greg magnusson says at

    The big question, for the SMB at least, is should we direct happy clients who want to leave positive reviews to Google+ or Yelp? Their ridiculous “filter” keeps Yelp out of the game, IMHO.

  5. Eaco says at

    Firstly Apple’s Siri referring to Yelp, and now Microsoft/Bing!

    Yelp sure has come a long way from the little Bay Area startup that was competing with Insider Pages to be the first reviews based directory only just a few years ago. How Yelp has come so far in such a short period of time!

  6. Michael Logan says at

    Super Data Alliances are being formed based around the influence of Social and the battle will get more interesting. In one corner of the ring stands Bing/Yelp/Apple(Siri) and in the other you have Google/Zagat/Android. These Super Data Alliances will have definite impact on consumer buying patterns and brand loyalty as a whole.

  7. Peter Troast says at

    I think @Adam has it right on the tendency of so many to equate “local” only with retail storefront businesses. Service businesses are a massive segment that are quite peripheral to Yelp. Service Magic is different in kind as a lead gen model and I don’t have much faith long term in Angie’s List’s closed membership approach (you have to join and pay to write a review? C’mon.) The Google+ Local move to incorporate Zagat reviews, with their clear restaurant bias, will further alienate service businesses. But given how prevalent blended organic/Google+ Local (formerly Google Places) search results, our view is that service businesses have no choice, so I think Google ultimately is the winner. 

  8. Greg Sterling says at

    I would have to say that agencies for SMBs (and others) need to focus equally on Yelp and Google. Yelp’s reviews have become more diverse than simply restaurants.

    This is from the official Yelp fact sheet:

    Restaurants: 22%
    Shopping: 23%
    Other: 11%
    Home and Local Services; 10%
    Beauty & Fitness: 9%
    Arts, Entertainment & Events: 7%
    Health: 6%
    Automotive: 4%
    Nightlife: 4%
    Travel and Hotels: 4%

  9. Matt says at

    I would say that reviews have become such a critical decision making factor that it will leave in dust any local search app.

  10. Greg Sterling says at

    Matt: by “any local search app” do you mean apps that don’t have reviews?

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