Dec 20, 2009

Yikes! Google to Acquire Yelp!?

from Andy Beal's Marketing Pilgrim 


You know how marketers will burn unused budget before the end of the year, so they don’t lose it next year? Apparently Google must have some end of the year M & A funds lying around to spend. The word is that they are ready to acquire the local business review site Yelp for a tidy sum. What a way to end the year.
Michael Arrington at TechCrunch has been busy coming up with the inside scoop:
Google and Yelp are in advanced acquisition negotiations, we’ve confirmed from multiple sources. And while the deal isn’t done, we’ve heard that it’s very likely to close. The price is supposedly at least $500 million.
Yelp was founded in 2004 as a way to let users leave reviews on local businesses. Comscore puts worldwide traffic at nearly 9 million monthly unique visitors, and it has been growing fast – the company says its real numbers are more like 25 million monthly uniques.
This would certainly be an interesting addition to Google’s growing local search empire. With their activities in the mobile realm and all the opportunities with Google Maps, Google Local Business etc, etc Yelp would be a very strong addition to an already strong stable of local offerings.
As for Yelp as a service? It certainly is growing and has a great reputation but it remains a service that has great success in high tech pockets. With Google at the helm it could spread like wildfire. Either that or it may just be assimilated into “The Goog” and used as the model moving forward for Google’s local business offerings. That is all a big TBD and, of course, having this deal finished first will help with the speculation about the integration of Yelp and its offerings.
Arrington notes as well that we should expect more acquisition activity from Google in the coming months. While many joke about it, maybe this really IS a Google world and we are all just allowed to play in it.