Yelp stock falls 8% on Facebook Graph Search news

January 15, 2013: 4:58 PM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

A new search feature for Facebook is bad news for Yelp.

Yelp's (YELP) stock sank as much as 8.5% after Facebook unveiled Graph Search, a tool that lets users search their social connections for information that their friends have shared -- including which restaurants and other local places their friends have visited.

Graph Search lets Facebookers use "natural language" in their queries: They can look up "music my friends like," "people who like soccer and live near me," or "photos of my friends before 2004."

Yelp investors appear to be worried about that type of search as it relates to places. Facebook said at its Tuesday presentation that users will be able to get results for queries like "Italian restaurants liked by my friends from Italy," "tourist attractions in India visited by my friends," or "restaurants in New York liked by chefs."

Yelp's business model is based almost solely on its reviews of local places. (The company also has a small daily-deal business.) Investors sent the stock lower immediately, though it recovered a bit to close down 6.2%.

The appeal of those Facebook results is that they come from people users actually know. Because reviews are Yelp's bread and butter, though, its ratings are generally more detailed.

Meanwhile, Facebook (FB) investors appeared to be disappointed that news was about search, and not a splashier announcement like a phone (something frequently rumored, despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg's vehement insistence that Facebook has no interest in making one). Facebook shares closed 2.8% lower Tuesday.


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