Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Will Yelp Get Great Reviews From Wall Street Investors in Today’s IPO?

Yelp, the San Francisco-based reviews site, is poised to go public on the New York Stock Exchange tomorrow, at $15 a share.

That will give the company a $900 million valuation, and allow it to raise almost $125 million.

That’s a lot of dough for Yelp, which is not yet profitable — although its 2011 revenues were close to $85 million, up almost 75 percent from the year earlier — and which is why some are worried the IPO might not reach expectations. Yelp lost $16.7 million in 2011, and $9.6 million in 2010.

Still, the new opening price is above the expected $12 to $14 range. Investors are presumably attracted to Yelp’s lead position as the place to find the skinny on restaurants, doctors and other services and places.

That added up to 25 million reviews by the end of 2011, according to Yelp’s filings, with 66 million unique monthly visitors. Yelp was founded in 2004.

Still, Yelp faces intense competition from Google, Facebook and Foursquare, which are all vying for the advertising-driven business.

We’ll know more soon, of course, and by the end of the day, how investors will judge yet another prominent Web 2.0 company.

Until then, here’s a video interview with Yelp’s CEO and co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman in 2010, right after Google tried to buy it (Yahoo also made a run at the company, too):

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work