Yelp and YP Enter Into “Strategic” Content, Distribution Partnership

YP + YelpYP and Yelp have announced a strategic partnership that will in the near future provide YP advertisers with an enhanced presence on Yelp and effectively bring Yelp into the YP Local Ad Network. There is probably a revenue sharing deal in the background but the parties declined to discuss terms.

Yelp has existing content deals with Yahoo, Bing, Apple and others. However, this YP deal is quite different than those, which are mainly about the inclusion of Yelp reviews content in local search results.

Under the terms of this deal, as I understand them, YP advertisers will gain access to the following:

  • Distribution/exposure to Yelp’s large local audience
  • The full range of enhanced profile features and capabilities associated with Yelp’s “branded profile” (call to action button, slideshows, ROI metrics, etc.)

The content already present in business owner profiles on YP will populate in equivalent fields on Yelp. However, YP advertisers on Yelp will not see removal of competitor ads on those profile pages. Yelp said as a practical matter that ads may or may not appear on those YP-associated profiles.

Consumers won’t experience anything necessarily different, except more Yelp profiles with enhanced content. YP has the largest base of small business advertisers of any local media company.

Yelp gains access to YP’s 4,000-strong salesforce (indirectly) and enhanced content on profiles that may not have been claimed. (Yelp reminded me that it has more than 1,000 primarily telephone sales reps itself.) In other words it improved the consumer experience with additional content.

The program and distribution are available to YP advertisers and will be another incentive to advertise on YP. The latter will continue to service and “own” the marketer relationship but business owners are free to independently advertise on Yelp if they so choose.

Both YP and Yelp stressed to me that this was the beginning of their partnership. Other products, services and features could be (and will likely be) developed in the future.

Interestingly, Yelp reviews content is not being syndicated to YP today. I would anticipate that Yelp reviews and images will eventually make their way to YP properties in the future.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if Yelp eventually offered its advertisers distribution on the YP Local Ad Network. YP has great mobile network reach in particular and is the third largest US mobile ad network by revenues (per eMarketer) after Google and Facebook.

I’m speculating about these future scenarios however. Regardless of how it plays out over time, both parties characterized the deal as a major “win, win” for all involved.