Google Isn't Going to Buy Yelp After All

Illustration for article titled Google Isn't Going to Buy Yelp After All

Rest easy, territorial Yelpers: According to TechCrunch, a late-stage change of heart (or circumstance) led Yelp to walk away from a reported $550m offer from Google this weekend.

No word yet on exactly what drove Yelp to back down, but there are really just two main possibilities here:

• Yelp was uneasy with whatever Google's plans for their company were. Given that Google already has a Yelp-like service in Google Places, there was a good chance that their plans would've involved cannibalizing Yelp for review data, or at least subordinating the brand for something more Googly.


• Yelp got a better offer, or at least the sense that they could get a better offer. Not that many tech companies could offer more than $550m for something as ephemeral and low-revenue as Yelp, but of the ones that could, nearly all—Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, Aol—are locked in one war or another with Google. Even if their plans were never firm, there are a lot of powerful companies with a vested interest in Google's local reviews staying somewhat lame.

So Yelp will keep Yelping, just as it has been Yelping for the history of Yelp, for the foreseeable Yelp. Let us know if you hear anything else. [TechCrunch]

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rb1971 TaycanTurboS+E9+Jolly+R90S

My guess is that this may have been a mistake. Yelp is a community-based internet service, and the majority of those have followed the same trajectory (1. start small with word-of-mouth, 2. get big quickly on a hockey-stick-like trajectory, 3. have a huge user base, 4. get bought for a high valuation, 5. level off, 6. fade away). The only exception I can think of is Facebook. Yelp might be a similar exception given its utility, but I and many of my friends used to write a lot of reviews for them 2-3 years ago but none of us really do much anymore, which leads me to suspect they are starting to move into stage 5. You should get bought before or (slightly worse) during stage 5.

Of course what do I know, maybe their user metrics are great.