We are a mere day before we see how the public markets will respond to the Yelp IPO and many are curious if the recent Angie's List IPO could foreshadow the review site's entrance on the New York Stock Exchange when it is expected to trade under the symbol YELP. While there are some parallels between the two services, there are far more differences between the two to draw any strong market predictions from.
Angie’s List (Nasdaq:ANGI) debuted back in November after creating a strong following online, but it was a much longer path to IPO than Yelp has taken. Angie's List is in its seventeenth year while Yelp hasn't even celebrated its eighth birthday. But many in the tech world know that age is little more than a number in a field of figures that have to be crunched.
A look at the pre-IPO numbers
Yelp is set to sell 7.15 million shares in the $12-$14 range, which would raise between $86 million and $100 million in fresh capital. This is fairly close to the pre-IPO expectations for Angie's List where the stock shares were expected to price between $11 and $13 to bring in a maximum of $131.4 million. That pre-IPO speculation brought Angie's List valuation near $700 million -- while Yelp's estimated valuation has been placed close to $838 million.
But when it comes to the revenue brought in for the first nine months of 2011, Angie's List has shown the strength that it has from the subscription and membership model while Yelp has shown the ability to mark extreme growth, year-over-year (but not without some losses).
Angie's List banked $62.6 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2011, compared to $42.9 million in the same time period the previous year. Yelp reported that it generated $58.4 million in net revenue for the first nine months of 2011 and it booked a net loss of $7.6 million over the same time.
Yelp revenue vs. Angie's List revenue
Yelp generates close to 50% of its revenue from advertising -- and close to 70% of those ads are from local advertisers that want geo-specific ads to show up in searches. It also has a broad spectrum of advertisers on its platform as it offers consumer-generated reviews of a wide range of businesses, (with nearly 42% of its 25 million reviews dedicated to dining). It also generates revenue from subscriptions and other services.
Angie's List has found a stronger niche in service-related companies, such as gardeners, plumbers, and contractors. And, it generates the vast majority of its revenue from subscription.
At least one analyst believes Yelp is better positioned to generate more revenue, because it's not focused on just the service industry.
"Yelp has significant brand appeal and plenty of room to grow compared to Angie's List," said Peter Krasilovski, vice president of BIA/Kelsey, in an interview. "And we are even seeing some increased growth in European markets, and investors like the possibilities of expansion there."
The credibility factor
Angie's List has the clear advantage when it comes to the trust and loyalty that users have between the two companies. Because of the membership requirements involved in Angie's List compared to the impostor reviews and controversy that has followed Yelp over the years, Angie's List has the strong brand image to bank on.
But you can't count Yelp out completely on this front because Yelp has worked hard to reduce the fake reviews that get posted and has made stride to reduce the appearance of impropriety on the preferential treatment end of the business.
"Yelp continues to grow brand appeal," Krasilovski told me. "Angie's List is not a verb, Yelp is and it continues to blaze a strong path across the Web.
While Angie's List debuted at $13 on the stock market several months back, it is currently trading around 20% above the IPO price and is seeing a fair amount of demand.
If Yelp comes to market Friday at $14 per share it will risk not having far to go to reach similar heights that Angie's List experienced on opening day (when it opened at $18 and climbed as high as $18.75).