Yelp beats Citysearch in Traffic?

1 07 2008

Compete has Yelp beating Citysearch in monthly unique visitors for a few months now, although both the New York Times (via Comscore for March) and Quantcast have Citysearch trouncing Yelp with 8M or 16M uniques to Yelp’s approximately 3M uniques, respectively depending on who you believe.

Yelp is most definitely an interesting, and thus far successful, case study but certainly the story is not over for finding success in local with SMBs as a notoriously difficult group of businesses to sell into.

Yet Yelp is not universally known.  It’s a Bay Area staple and people SWEAR by it here.  A business that doesn’t have a Yelp sticker on its window is clearly clueless.  But step just barely outside of Yelp’s big presence here and outside of the technorati and it’s probably the biggest property for which you’ll hear “what’s that?”  It’s still showing a great growth curve, and the biggest hurdle for Yelp is just simply the difficulty of repeating its success here into nationwide success.

At its heart, Yelp is still just a venue reviews site.  They’ve done a insanely tremendous job of integrating the famous Yelp parties and Yelper badge of honor, and translating that fanatic behavior into fanatic online behavior.  The same went visa versa, and the snowball effect launched from there.

My top questions from the Yelp story:

  • How do you best cultivate offline “socializing” to translate to online activity?
  • Is there an upcoming backlash in social media and social networks?  It’s en vogue to call this fatigue, but I would call this “I’d rather be outside than staring at a computer” for the vast majority of people.  It’s well known that traffic spikes during the week and during work hours when you’re forced to stare at a computer.
  • In the long run, what garners more wins: utility or entertainment “time wasters”?  I personally think there will still be winners in both, but the current Web 2.0 landscape is focused on the time wasters.  Note that also an explosive success like YouTube successfully navigates both.
  • What are the opportunities in ubiquitous computing?  A march back towards utility benefits mobile and ubiquitous computing.

I sometime wonder how much we really “enjoy” being in front of a computer.  Even for a computer geek like me, I still have to answer “not so much.”  Maybe that’s what Yelp beating (or soon beating) Citysearch means.

Latest (direct from Compete site):

Yelp versus Citysearch

May 2007 to May 2008 traffic (saved):

May 2008 Yelp vs Citysearch

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