Online reviews shake-up: Yelp buys Qype.

Two online review sites – one American and the other European – are to merge to create a significant single entity.

Qype, a homegrown European start-up has been acquired by US company Yelp in a multi-million dollar deal. It is reported that the $50m price will be paid half in cash and half in shares.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said on the company’s blog: “We’ve built a great foundation, launching Yelp communities in 19 countries so far. Bringing Qype into the fold will enable us to accelerate our international growth and increase our benefit to consumers and businesses. Qype’s contributors have written more than two million reviews of local businesses, resulting in more than 15 million monthly unique visitors to the service.”

Wall St. liked the deal and on Thursday Yelp’s share price increased 9% to $26.13. Yelp also posted better than expected quarterly results. Yelp launched on the stock exchange in March 2012, priced at $15 a share and is considered as one of the better internet performers this year.

In Europe though, Qype has managed to hold its own. Interestingly, Qype has several old faces from eBay on the books or associated with it including Gumtree’s Andrew Hunter. Hunter has gone on to found Adzuna (itself making waves and very much one to watch).

Although by no means a new trend, online reviews continue to make headlines with companies such as Tripadvisor often attracting criticism. The recent ‘goldrush’ of smartphones has reinvigorated the reviews space and is doubtless here to stay as a force in ecommerce.

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