I find it really useful for all kinds of different local reviews, particularly related to entertainment, food and services resources. My search typically triangulates from the root Google search that gives me a few different options in one category and then a couple of different review sources. Inevitably Yelp, which has done a good job on SEO, shows up in that list of informed content sources.
What isn’t there is the Yellow Pages. They don’t come up high in the Google search, typically, and if they do, they certainly don’t have much incremental information.
It’s easy to focus on the challenges of execution that Yelp, or any of these review-based products, face. But the long view shows us that consumers have more opportunity and more incentive to access a product like Yelp during a search than than do a product like the Yellow Pages. Assuming that Google has become a de-facto directory, and that the content pages under Google become the next element of the search, generating information that helps to define and delineate the choices, then a dynamic content-driven product will have more value than a static, listings driven product.
Add in that a company like Yelp has a more forgiving capital structure, a value creation arc that is still on the upswing, and that the Yellow Pages companies have a embedded cost structure that drives much of its pricing and economic decisions, and it feels like a pretty smooth market transition is underway.