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This article was published on July 30, 2010

Yelp CEO: “There is real tension” between Google Places and Yelp

Yelp CEO: “There is real tension” between Google Places and Yelp
Chad Catacchio
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Chad Catacchio

Chad Catacchio is a contributor writing on a variety of topics in tech. He has held management positions at a number of tech companies in th Chad Catacchio is a contributor writing on a variety of topics in tech. He has held management positions at a number of tech companies in the US and China. Check out his personal blog to connect with him or follow him on Twitter (if you dare).

Today at TechCrunch’s Cruchup in Palo Alto, CA,  Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s CEO and John Hanke, VP of Product Management at Google talked about the strain that is building up between Yelp and Google Places.

According to Stoppleman, Yelp is doing very well, now with 12 million reviews, 35 million uniques per month and 2.5 million uniques between its Android and iPhone apps.

Asked if Yelp is like the yellow pages, Stoppleman said that, “Yellow pages are boring, so I don’t know if we want to be that.” Google’s Hanke said that, “The Web [as a whole] is the yellow pages.”

Henke believes that, “The areas that Google can help [in local search] are data and monetization. Over 4 million business are feeding the Places API. The other part of the strategy is monetization.” Henke said that there was a lot of local-focused startups that failed because there, “wasn’t an advertising platform for local-focused startups,” and Google aims to fix that.

“We sell ads, we have 100 sales people – on mobile we haven’t done any monetization there – but we could just add in our search ads,” said Stoppleman. “Our most valuable data is our reviews, which are longer than other sites’ reviews,” continued Stoppleman. He also noted that, “check-ins have been awesome” for Yelp.

Google Places vs Yelp

Talking about how Yelp’s content shows up on Google, “Our primary concern is what is best for the user. I think there is a real tension [between Google Places and Yelp]. I think Google has to be very careful that they don’t block the best content,” said Stoppleman. Later he said, “That can be difficult for a company like Google to swallow.”

“If the best content on the web is Yelp or the New York Times, we’re [Google] going to show it,” said Henke. Earlier he had said, “The competition isn’t between Google and Yelp or anyone else – the real competition is getting local businesses to advertise in the first place.”

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