Google Places vs Yelp Who Will Win?

Let me give you a little perspective.   Lets go back to the real reason Yelp has been mad at Google for all these years.  It comes down to something very simple:  Google has been ripping off Yelp reviews.  When people are browsing Google and do a local search, then go into a Places page, (I have been told by Yelp) Yelp sees virtually NO traffic once that visitor is in that Places page (so there is absolutely NO BENEFIT).  The browser was seeing everything they needed with Google displaying those Yelp reviews right out in the open.  You see?  All that hard work of Yelp being ripped off with no benefit of traffic or people going to their site … reading the review is “from Yelp” while on Google is not the same as the user actually going to Yelp and reading the review.  If you think of all I am saying as a business owner, it makes sense.  This all changes today.

Google spent years piggy backing off the loyal reviewers of Yelp, and now with everything going down with the law suits etc. they might be getting scared, and could be the reason they are finally making the move.   My guess is Yelp is pretty happy about this.  All those people that are saying Yelp is dead?  Here is why you are so wrong and where Yelp benefits: Without Yelp reviews showing up in Places pages anymore, who has the superior product?  Yelp.  If you are looking for lots of reviews, you are no longer going to see them when using the Google Places app … so you are going to turn to Yelp.  Yelp wins this battle and thus has the superior product.  For now anyway.

Look at this screen shot I tool of my favorite place to eat where I live.  26 – 62 … that would be a blowout in an NFL game 🙂 Clearly Yelp is winning the battle of reviews:

Yelp Vs Google Places
Yelp Reviews Vs Google Places Reviews

The real battle?  I feel the real battle is going to be in the mobile space.  I am not the only one. See Mike Ramsey’s comment here on this awesome thread on Google Plus started by Mike Blumenthal.  If Google can do a better job with their mobile app, (as Yelp has done) they might have a change.  My guess is they won’t and they will piss their customers off like they usually do.  That seems to be their style.  It is going to be interesting to see what happens over the next several years in this space, I am actually looking forward to it.

The thing you you might forget is people HAD the opportunity to leave reviews on Google all these years, but didn’t for the most part … they used Yelp.  To me, that speaks volumes.  For now, I will be keeping my Yelp app on the iPhone and am sticking with it.

Update:  Wanted to share some good posts about all these changes that I have recently read:


21 thoughts on “Google Places vs Yelp Who Will Win?

  1. Michael Dorausch says:

    But did people leave those Yelp reviews because they were being indexed by Google thus leading to greater awareness of the site? They use to leave reviews on Yahoo! Local, they left reviews at CitySearch, and even AOL. Only time will tell if the review volume on Yelp grows at same pace if Google stops showing reviews on Place pages (as they have now done). Fortunately, I have a whole case of popcorn. 🙂

  2. Dean Ouellette says:

    62-26, that sounds like another arse whooping the Jets put on the Pats. But seriously, I love yelp, but dont right as many reviews as I would if they would allow posting from mobile.

  3. Mat Siltala says:

    @Michael Dorausch Mike you make a GREAT point, but again, I go back to the fact that Yelp does get most its views via mobile and they have it locked up. I just don’t see how Google can compete with them in the mobile arena. For as many Yelp haters there is enough lovers out there that has made it what it is today. I think this puts Yelp in a good position. Also, as far as the Yahoo Local …. well, its Yahoo, and again none of those other places did good in mobile … Ive been on Yelp with their mobile apps for years.

  4. Tess says:

    Follow the money,,, who has it (google)who doesn’t (yelp). They continue to borrow money to keep afloat which is why they are looking to go public and many things will change if that happens. Plus Google has the upper hand. People go the their web browser and mostly use google to search for anything including a restaurant they don’t think of Yelp.

    Plus Yelp has lost alot of creditbilty with business owners (their bread and butter) and google has a much better reputation. Many businesses have made plenty of money using google. I see yelp being sued and extrmely unhappy business owners share their views and want off yelp. Yelp future is not as brights as googles.

  5. Jason says:

    Do you think the aggregate effect of gathering reviews from multiple sources may have hurt the credibility of the reviews. We had several people leave reviews on our places page stating “These must be fake reviews. There are just too many good reviews!” I have had to report these types of reviews to Google multiple times. The reduction may sting for a bit, but may garner more respect. Just my 2 cents, but I am only a lowly dentist and student of you guys who put out great material!

  6. Mat Siltala says:

    I think this is going to be Googles real challenge and where I think for now, Yelp wins. Yelp has been fighting for years to get Google to do what they did a couple days ago. Most Google Places still only have very few, if any reviews and it looks pretty bad so they are going to have to figure out a way to get more people leaving reviews on the Places page (thus the new look and more emphasis on reviews) So it will be interesting to see where they take on Yelp in the mobile arena too … that is where I think Gs biggest hurdle is … mobile.

  7. Pingback: Google Places: Integrating some of the great information that’s been buried | Understanding Google Maps & Local Search

  8. Pingback: Google Places: Integrating some of the great information that’s been buried | iGo Mobile Marketing

  9. Corey says:

    I think once Google integrates places into Google+ it will be the clear cut winner. But currently, in my experiences Yelp is better for restaurants and food related niches while google places if more beneficial to professional services.

  10. Aml says:

    Yelp hires a new CFO, i guess to help them out with better planning and some finance strategies. His a Silicon Valley veteran named Rob Krolik. Goodluck Yelp!

  11. Shubham Gupta says:

    Ya, Plus Yelp has lost alot of creditbilty with business owners (their bread and butter) and google has a much better reputation. Many businesses have made plenty of money using google.

  12. Charles Diaz says:

    Tess, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Further, as you guys are mentioning Mobile, none of you have mentioned the mobile devices, which is the key.

    Bill Gurley, or “Above The Crowd” wrote an interesting piece in March about how Google is actually using Android, which is quite the opposite of what we all see it as. It’s interesting because he makes the point that Android is basically the nuclear weapon that Google has been developing in their “less than free” business model. It’s a pre-emptive strike against all other search, ad, and website competitors. And his analysis makes sense, particularly in this context. You can find the article here, and I highly recommend everyone read it:

    By focusing on Mobile in your blog post Matt, you’ve got to cede that Google has already won. They have the highest market share of the mobile industry here in the US, and a large majority abroad. When someone has an Android phone, Google owns that presence.
    As Tess mentioned above, the general populace goes to Google for all things search related. Today for instance, I pulled up Google maps on my browser and typed in Tex Mex here in Dallas. I wanted a very fast, graphically-oriented breakdown of those types of restaurants around me. I found all the info I needed, and even reviews and directions (to estimate travel time) much, much faster than using a third party, like Yelp.

    How often do you think that same scenario plays out on Mobile? I use my HTC EVO for *exactly* that type of thing all the time. I even have the Yelp app. At the end of the day, Google’s built-in services are “good enough”, much faster, and have loyalty built in before you even use them.

    Google’s won the mobile local space.

  13. Mat Siltala says:

    @Charles Diaz
    Thanks for stopping by … awesome comments. It will be interesting to see what happens … If Google doesn’t screw it up like they do everything else (besides search) they might have a chance. Yelp has been around for a long time and has a great following. The app is easy to use and they keep getting more and more users (and searches) every month. For now I am just going to sit back and watch, but I don’t think this is a Yelp killer by any means.

  14. Adam @ newton realtor says:

    Serves them right. I have had numerous testimonials submitted to Yelp, many of which they have removed thinking they are “faked” testimonials, which is absolutely false. I personally don’t use Yelp as someone trying to find info on a place, I would use Google every time. Especially now that Yelp has determined that my valid comments are invalid and deleted them with no way of recovery.

  15. Roger says:

    I think unfortunately Google Places will win because Google has the right at any point of time to kind of nudge yelp out of the way. Yelp appears mostly through the search engines which is something that is controlled by Google. In the end no matter what happens, Google rules all.

  16. Jomson George says:

    Google now facing real challenge from the great innovator Apple. Apart from Law suits, Apple doesn’t going to rely on Google services anymore. Instead it going to use its own services which makes Google even more tough to compete with. The war has started now but the Time has the only answer that who will win…!

  17. Andy Far says:

    I will never support Yelp nor use it- I have heard horrible stories about that service…. I tell all my clients to goto Google to leave testimonials… also why go anywhere else? I use google atleast 89 times a day yes you heard right ! I own an android phone I use google maps I use google search i use google Talk I use google Email I use google Marketing services and i use each of these systems multiple multiple times a day… If i need to find any business I type it into my gMaps and it finds me locations directions and testimonials plus traffic and weather patterns to and back from my destination… have I said enough… now my latest Android Phone is in my hands the Google Android Galaxy Note II….. wooooooho Im in total business….I have never used this Yelp thing and dont need it….Hahahahhahhahahah let them rot and die I have google

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