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August 30, 2011

My Thoughts on Daily Deals...

Wowza! There's a lot of buzz lately circulating around the future of daily deals, so I thought I'd take a moment to share my perspective.

Daily deals have been a hit with consumers and since we launched Yelp Deals last year, we've learned a lot about the business. Getting a great deal is awesome; who doesn't like to save a few bucks? A well timed deal can even entice you into trying something completely new... skydiving anyone? Sure why not, it's 50% off! Certain types of businesses have really benefited from this wide exposure, and it's a breakthrough to finally be able to connect online marketing to offline customers in the door.

Of course, as with the birth of any new industry, it hasn't been all rainbows and unicorns. The space faces some real challenges... while consumers love it when you can offer them a great deal nearby, they're not so stoked when you email them a restaurant deal for a place in Berkeley, CA when they live across the Bay in San Francisco. We've also heard consistently from certain categories of businesses (very popular ones I'm afraid) that daily deals are uneconomic for them, which does raise questions around the sustainability of "50% off" daily deals for these types of businesses.

Where do we go from here? Well, contrary to popular belief Yelp is not killing Deals (gasp!). We did take a 30 person team that was selling daily deals and local ads and made it a 15 person team focused solely on daily deals (note: no salespeople were harmed in the making of this announcement. All are still doing great as part of our 400+ member sales team). We'll continue to email out any amazing Deals we find; rest assured when it comes to quality vs quantity, we'll choose quality every time. It's also worth noting that we have a hot new way to get involved with Yelp Deals. Businesses can instantly post a deal to their Yelp page and in the past two months, several thousand businesses have done so. We designed this new product to solve many of the issues plaguing daily deals providers. We're excited about this twist on Deals... though it's still a work in progress, so please give us a couple more months to take over the world.