Yahoo! Yelp partners
Copywriter: Sam Jones, PR Assistant, YouCom Direct
On March 12, 2014, Yahoo! announced that it had partnered with Yelp to bring local review data into its search experience for both mobile and desktop. Traditional Yelp information, such as ratings, reviews and user photos became interlinked with and fed to Yahoo!
Following that US roll out, Yahoo! have now completed the same for the UK and some European countries. In the UK, like the US, this partnership is transparent with results clearly displayed as provided by Yelp. However due to the directory market differing greatly by country, in France where Pages Jaunes is such a dominant directory, Yelp provide the data feed to Pages Jaunes who in turn provide it to Yahoo! – See our earlier article from February 2013.
Yahoo! is no longer a company known for its search products following the outsourcing of its search technology to Microsoft. Yahoo! has since tried to slow or escape from under its search deal with Microsoft, given that the partnership has failed to perform up to financial expectations. However it does want search to be a focus for its business and with local search comes local reviews.
Yahoo! Local isn’t the only search engine to have abandoned their own local reviews and switch to a data feed from Yelp. Bing partnered with Yelp in 2012 and now include not only reviews, but ratings, images and other data. This leaves Google as the one remaining search engine giant yet to abandon their own Google+ reviews in favour of the trusted data status of Yelp’s own review system.
Despite the competitive challenges, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer recently declared that the company is “long in search,” stressing, “We do intend to continue to invest in the search user experience, and in really making sure that Yahoo! users on the network ultimately really get a tremendous experience.”
In a recent blog post, Anand Chandrasekaran the then senior director at Yahoo! was quoted as saying “Now when you use Yahoo! Search to look up a local business in the U.S. on your smartphone, tablet, or PC, you’ll see user reviews, business information, and star ratings from Yelp. We’ve also added a new photo viewing experience to show high-quality photos from Yelp, other partners, and the businesses themselves.”
However, YouCom Direct have identified that the partnership is not totally a good thing for business due to the nature of review management. Many business owners have built a good Yahoo! Local profile with lots of really good reviews over many years. The Yelp-Yahoo! partnership seems good for them because Yelp is very popular for leaving business reviews and it would certainly help brands to have reviews from a well-known established review site.
But what many don’t realise is that years of accumulated Yahoo! Local reviews can be replaced in favour of a single Yelp review. The current process is that as soon as a business gains its first Yelp review, Yahoo! removes all the old Yahoo! Local reviews, rather than archiving them. The picture of the brand created by years of reviews just disappears overnight…
When users go and look at a business to see the reviews, it’s pretty common for users to bypass those businesses that only have a single review, in favour of those businesses that have a longer history of reviews.
This means that if your brand is on Yahoo! with lots of reviews and you don’t have presence on Yelp with lots of reviews, then you risk losing them to be replaced by a single Yelp review that someone decides to leave on the Yelp site.
The good news for Yelp is this now makes directory listing management on the Yelp country sites more important than ever. Very simply, if you manage your Yelp listings you’ll remove the user-generated listings of your business and create a platform for future reviews which will filter into both Bing and Yahoo!
Follow the YouCom Direct news posts to see the next developments.
YouCom Direct News Article, Aug 2015, London, ‘Yahoo! Yelp partners’.