Facebook's keen interest in restaurants and local search should be a major worry to Yelp regardless how much CEO Stoppelman tries to shrug off the threat.
Facebook’s new Graph Search emphasizes restaurants, but Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman says no competitor is going to torpedo Yelp, at least “overnight,” because the Yelp community has “generated deep, rich content” that’s difficult to replicate.
Stoppelman’s remarks were directed to financial analysts today after the company announced that its fourth quarter of 2012 loss narrowed to $5.3 million, down from $9.1 million a year earlier, on a 65% revenue increase to $41.2 million. The revenue increase included Yelp’s acquisition of European competitor Qype in October 2012.
In answer to a question about Facebook, Stoppelman said “local is an enormous market,” and naturally it attracts competition. “We don’t think anyone, at least overnight, is going to impact the business,” said Stoppelman, adding that Yelp has been building its content and community since 2004.
Regarding that depth of content, Yelp reported that its reviews grew 45% year over year to 36 million at the end of 2012, and its sites and apps attracted 100 million unique visitors for the first time in January 2013.
Stoppelman pointed to a menu feature that Yelp started integrating in the fourth quarter as an example of its depth of content. In addition to providing restaurant menus, Yelp also links photos of particular dishes on the menu to reviews about the menu item.
For example, at Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan, you can view a photo of the Red Snapper on the menu, and read 17 reviews that at least mention Red Snapper.
Yelp can also emphasize menu photos based on the most-frequently mentioned dishes, Stoppelman said.
In other matters, Stoppelman said 25% of Yelp’s ad impressions now come from its mobile apps.
He added, in answer to a question, that Yelp feels “very positive” about its enhanced relationship with Apple, in which it began providing check-ins through Apple Maps in iOS 6.
Stoppelman added that Yelp hasn’t felt any negative impact from Google Maps’ presence in the iOS 6.