Give Yourself 5 Stars? Online, It Might Cost You The seedy underbelly of online reviews — especially companies paying for higher reviews — is a source of frequent speculation but…

Yahoo acquires social recommendation startup Jybe

Yahoo has acquired Jybe, the personalized recommendation app that aimed to help consumers get recomendations from friends around them, and then also move toward making purchases through the app. The acquisition shows part of Yahoo’s latest social strategy.

Meet Chefs Feed, the anti-Foodspotting

Crowdsourcing may have liberated the restaurant review from the critics, but Steve and Jared Rivera think its also produced a lot of bad food recommendations. There answer was to create Chefs Feed, a food app where recommendations come solely from professional chefs.

Yelp’s flaws become Apple Maps flaws in iOS 6

There’s been plenty of anecdotal evidence already offered that Maps needs work — at times location data is missing or directions were wrong. But on more than one occasion Maps have led users astray because of the user-sourced business information that Apple is using from Yelp.

Foursquare keeps moving into local search with Open Table reservations

Foursquare and Open Table’s new partnership is just the latest in the location-based app’s moves into the local search arena, challenging popular resources like Yelp by aggregating user check-ins to provide personalized recommendations. Booking tables seems like the next step in these moves.

How much better is GPS over Wi-Fi positioning? Yelp knows

Global positioning systems provide better location accuracy over solutions that use Wi-Fi networks, but just how much better is GPS? Yelp sifted through its check-in data to see and not only found out the accuracy variance, but also an interesting location tidbit on iPhones vs Androids.

What the heck is iCloud again? Plus 4 other Apple stories to read today

Here’s our daily pick of stories about Apple from around the web you shouldn’t miss. Today’s installment: confusion over iCloud, how EPEAT ratings actually work, Steve Jobs feared Google acquiring Yelp, how the iPhone and Samsung are dominating mobile industry value, and Mountain Lion’s pending release.

Google vs everyone: an epic war on many fronts

Google celebrated day one of Google I/O 2012 conference with a slew of new products and more announcements. Stand back a little and you start to see a company has pitch battles on its hand on many fronts, despite being strong on search, advertising and android.

Zagat goes free with launch of Google+ Local

Since Google bought Zagat last September for a reported $125 million, the company hasn’t done much with Zagat’s local content. That changes today with the rollout of Google+ Local, which incorporates Zagat scores and summaries into its listings — and makes Zagat free.

Yelp is worth $1.5 billion… Now what?

The big first-day pop in Yelp shares means that it’s now worth $1.5 billion. So what’s it to do with its newfound riches? Here’s a look at a few companies that might be an interesting fit, if Yelp were to go shopping for acquisitions.

What do Yelp and Twitter have in common?

Today, Yelp had a spectacular initial public offering and is worth almost a billion dollars. There is more talk of a Twitter IPO and that too would be spectacular. But one thing in common between these two companies – a propensity for airbrushing the past.

Fondu builds a mobile social network for bite-sized places reviews

Fondu, a New York start-up, is launching its mobile app on iOS today, introducing a purpose-built mobile social network designed specifically for discovering places through friends. It mixes some of Yelp’s structure with Foursquare’s tips and Twitter’s short messages.

Can a new wave of apps kill the 5-star rating system?

A new wave of apps aims to replace the increasingly crowded space of long-winded five-star user generated reviews (like those on Yelp and Amazon) with straightforward social recommendations. The newest entrant in this field, an iPhone app called Stamped, aims to win with simplicity.

Yelp top brass cashed out $36M in pre-IPO stock sale

Six of Yelp’s top executives and investors cashed out $36.8 million worth of company stock during Yelp’s Series E funding round in early 2010, according to the company’s IPO filing, with CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and board chairman Max Levchin each selling some $15 million of stock.

Yelp files for $100M initial public offering

Yelp, the San Francisco-based local reviews website, has filed official documents to raise up to $100 million in an IPO of its stock. The filing reveals that Yelp pulls in solid top line sales, but has yet to turn a profit at the bottom line.


Make me an offer: hyperlocal targeting in mobile

One of the hottest developments in local advertising has without question been the rise of daily deals, which are now being comingled and distributed in mobile and location-based apps for a potent hyperlocal marketing combination. This research note examines opportunities and challenges in this space for both large initiatives, such as Google Wallet, and smaller merchants and retailers. It provides an outlook of what — and who — to watch over the next several years as hyperlocal targeting becomes increasingly more mobile and mainstream. Companies mentioned in this report include Groupon, WHERE, Google, LivingSocial and Facebook. For a full list of companies, and to read the full report, sign up for a free trial.

Google buys Zagat to add people power to its algorithms

Google has bought restaurant ratings publisher Zagat, in a deal whose value hasn’t been disclosed. The deal helps Google bring in a source of recommendations and user generated content that meshes well with its engineering-centric culture and could boost Zagat’s profile among the digerati.

Is Yelp the canary in the daily deals coal mine?

Earlier this week Yelp said it was revising its daily deals strategy after encountering some “real challenges” in the space. According to new data from daily deals analysis firm Yipit, those challenges were indeed severe — and they may not be unique to just Yelp.

Yipit rides the daily deal chaos to success

Yipit, a New York City-based deals aggregator and recommendation service, is growing fast and leveraging its wide knowledge of the tumultuous daily deals market. The company is not just rounding up deals, it’s also selling its data insights about this fast-growing market.

Foursquare guns for Yelp, one feature at a time

Foursquare and Yelp are moving into more direct competition, feature by feature. On Monday, Foursquare launched a new feature that allows users to create lists of the places they’ve checked into or plan to visit, bringing it further into the review and recommendation space.

Yelp gets serious with IPO-savvy CFO

Yelp has hired Rob Krolik to serve as its chief financial officer. Krolik’s resume includes time as the CFO of where he led the company through its IPO. Yelp CEO and co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman said Krolik’s public market savvy was key in his hiring.

New Localicious app shows why some devs prefer Android

WhitePages’ new local discovery app is launching on Android first, in part because the platform allows it the ability to better track the efficacy of location-based ads. It’s another sign that Android is appealing to more developers.

3 Things the Mobile Wallet Needs to Replace the Real One

Some of the groundwork is finally being laid for mobile payments, but the industry still has to find ways to convince users to pay for stuff with their phones. For the mobile wallet to catch on, apps will have to do much more than execute transactions.

Location Services Jazz Up the Check-In for the Holidays

The location wars are heating up just in time for the holidays. Location-based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla, SCVGR, Yelp and others have brought out big-name partners and expanded rewards to help give the check-in services a big push at the end of the year.

Google’s Hotpot Launches — But Will Anyone Use It?

Google’s new local recommendation service with the unusual name — HotPot — can leverage the information that the search giant has about you (if you provide it), but it is still at a huge disadvantage compared with established apps like Yelp, and social networks such as Facebook.

How Little Guys Can Win in Local Mobile Advertising

There’s been a flurry of activity lately in local mobile advertising, often dubbed the Holy Grail of marketing. Players like Google and Facebook have a distinct competitive edge thanks to their sheer size, but smaller guys can succeed they keep a few key things in mind.


Shopping Matters When it Comes to Location-Based Apps

Location-based shopping services (LBS) have made many headlines recently, and studies have shown that users actually like receiving ads and offers well-targeted to their interests. Couple that with an influx of Tier 1 venture capital and the show-stopping Facebook Places, with which several startups have already joined forces, and it’s no wonder LBS is suddenly such a hot topic in the mobile sector. That doesn’t necessarily mean LBS shopping apps will be easy to implement. A number of challenges — privacy concerns, scaling issues and check-in integrity among them — provide a potential barrier to widespread adoption. This note examines both the drivers and inhibitors for making location-based shopping services a mainstream phenomenon, and includes focused profiles of Facebook, Twitter, Google, Loopt, Foursquare, BrightKite, Whrrl, Gowalla, Plancast, Groupon, AisleBuyer, Bizness Apps, Offeretti, ShopAlerts, Shopkick, Bakodo, Stickybits, Yelp!, Geodelic Sherpa, WHERE, MyTown, InCrowd, SCVNGR, Waze and Layar.

Facebook Places: The Real Target Is Yelp

Facebook’s real focus with the launch of Places isn’t individual users or even Foursquare: instead, it sees the service as a way of making a major push into local businesses and local advertising markets, and the company with the most to lose isn’t Foursquare but Yelp.

Foursquare's Crowley on Facebook, Check-in Fatigue & the Copy Cats

Earlier this week I met with Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley and we discussed everything from Facebook to check-in fatigues and the copycats. I have synthesized our conversation to give you a good idea of how Dennis is thinking about Foursquare, social web and geolocation.

Yelp's Problem! Lose Trust & You Lose Everything

As Yelp is learning, trust is a hard thing to win — but amazingly easy to lose. And that’s why it needs to be protected with the corporate equivalent of the Praetorian Guard. To that end, here are three trust-related rules to live by.

Finally, an Actual Yelp Class Action Lawsuit for Extortion

Yelp was yesterday slammed with a prospective class action lawsuit over unfair business practices. To that I say, it’s about time! There have been rumblings and bitchings and stories for years about Yelp salespeople pressuring local businesses to pay to remove negative user reviews.

Foursquare Teams With Zagat to Make Yelp Squeal

Foursquare is working with Zagat, HBO and other high-profile media brands to get a leg up on competitors like Gowalla and Yelp. The partnerships will provide valuable exposure and content as Foursquare tries to differentiate itself in the white-hot location-based social recommendation space.

So Maybe Consumer Web IPOs Won't Come Back This Year After All

Yelp, like Facebook and Zynga before it, has taken a large late-stage funding round that includes measures to cash out employee shares. In doing so, the local reviews startup effectively negates internal pressure for a public offering to make early employees rich.

Why Could Give AT&T's Mobile Presence a Boost

AT&T is developing a Yelp-like site to offer user reviews and recommendations. While it’s late to the social recommendation party, and as such faces a small army of competitors, AT&T has the relationships and massive scale to help make its service a success.

Yelp Fights Back Against Foursquare, Gowalla

Yelp is stepping up its game against Foursquare and Gowalla by adding “check-ins” by users to its reviews. But will be enough? Or will Foursquare and/or Gowalla make for a simpler user experience and therefore a significant competitive threat?

Twitter + Foursquare = Yelp R.I.P?

My search for a top-notch ramen joint returned quality recommendations from both Twitter (as to the restaurant) and Foursquare (as to actual menu items), all in near-real time. Which made me wonder if services like Yelp have a future in our increasingly always-connected world.

Google May Buy Yelp: A Quick Analysis

Google is rumored to be in talks to buy Yelp for over $500 million. If the deal happens, then it is a good move for Yelp and its backers, who are selling at what we think is the top of the market.

Why the Social Web Makes Local Reviews More Useful

Features like Foursquare’s tips give us a glimpse of a useful and monetizable service where we can get valuable recommendations in real-time, via mobile access to reviews that are local, current, relevant, actionable and come from friends.

Yelp Closes Traffic Gap With Citysearch

Citysearch’s November relaunch came with everything from Facebook Connect compatibility to a new Smartphone-friendly mobile site. But users…

Yelp Now Available In The UK

I’m a frequent flier to England and a longtime fan of Yelp, the gloriously verbose and opinionated user-generated review site, so this…