Yahoo, Yelp Kick Off Partnership

Retail listing service Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) is in a new partnership with Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), expanding Yahoo’s search capabilities and signaling a commitment to its core business.

Yahoo, Yelp Kick Off Partnership

Enhanced services

“Now when you use Yahoo Search to look up a local business in the U.S. on your smartphone, tablet, or PC, you’ll see user reviews, business information, and star ratings from Yelp,” Anand Chandrasekaran, a senior director at Yahoo, wrote in a blog post. “We’ve also added a new photo viewing experience to show high-quality photos from Yelp, other partners, and the businesses themselves.”

The integration between Yelp and Yahoo will be available on all devices and will allow Yahoo users to access information from Yelp, including ratings, reviews, and pictures. Yahoo will give Yelp top billing on the listings pages, and the content will appear to the right and will include a Yelp logo, similar to other deals Yelp has with Microsoft and Apple. Google does not have an agreement with Yelp and instead promotes Google reviews and Zagat-branded content in local listings.

Yahoo needed help in local listings

Some in the technology space were saying the Yelp deal was long overdue.  As rumors of the integration first surfaced, a former member of Yahoo’s local search management team said that part of Yahoo’s business was in dire straits. “Yahoo needed to do this investment a long time ago. The platform was just rotting,” he was quoted as saying, adding that Yahoo’s local search technology was inconsistent.

For her part, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer recently said the company is “long in search” and “We do intend to continue to invest in the search user experience, and in really making sure that Yahoo users on the network ultimately really get a tremendous experience.”  Such investment seems to have materialized in today’s partnership announcement.

Yelp shares were up more than 2% Wednesday, while Yahoo was off a fraction.