Here's a video of Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman's interview on Charlie Rose last week. Stoppelman and Rose discuss the origins of Yelp, the importance of adapting to mobile technology, and Stoppelman's decision not to sell to Google. Stoppelman also defends the reliability of the reviews and reviewers on Yelp, gives his thoughts on whats wrong with Google and Groupon, and much more:
· On what Yelp is: "It's just word of mouth amplified. We set out to create the new Yellow Pages."
· On putting the business model second to consumer experience: "If you're able to connect people with great local businesses, if people are coming to a site to find business, those are transactions. There's going to be a business model there."
· On "what happened with Groupon": "I think it came out with a product that got a lot of consumer attention and I think maybe they struggled to retain those users over time. But if you're looking at the market it's still bouncing around. It's still a company that's out there."
· On not selling to Google: "For me my focus was always on how can Yelp be the most successful company ... We looked at what we had on the table and in the end it just didn't make sense. We felt like we were building a strong independent company."
· On who Yelpers are: "If you look at the demographics, they're off the charts, very attractive. They're 22 - 50 ... highly educated, high income, and age-wise average in the mid-30s. It's not just young folks mouthing off about McDonald's. It's consumers in major urban metros talking about businesses."
· On mobile technology: "It was scary when it came. It felt like we were back to the starting line ... What if we don't get it right on mobile? It would be disastrous."
· On the acccuracy and fairness of Yelp reviews: "I find it accurate. If you go and you find a 4.5 star business in New York that has 70+ reviews, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a good experience ... Having quantity of reviews is part of it. Having quality of reviews is part of it, a rating attached to an in depth review. Knowing about the reviewer themselves, their identity is part of it."
· On protecting against fake reviews: "We try to protect against all of the bad stuff with a review filter. What that's doing is gathering all sorts of signals on how people are using and contributing on the site and deciding which are reviews are the ones consumers should probably rely on and which are the ones we're not so sure about. And we set aside the ones we're not so sure about. North of 20% of our content isn't actually on the main business page, it's in a separate section called 'Filtered Reviews.'"
· On advertisers on Yelp: "There are businesses out there that haven't paid us a dime and do fantastic ... Still there's a lot of people out there who would like additional traffic to their business."
· On Google's acquisition of Zagat: "Every 6 months to a year, there's a reinvention of what Google has been doing in the local space, there's just been change after change. I think what that says, or I think what that should communicate, is that they're struggling the space. They're having trouble finding something that really works and something they can stick with ... If you're winning it's calmer waters. The thing about Yelp is that we've been doing the same thing for nine years."