February 12, 2010

can 4sq, gowalla, etc. steal from the yelp budget?

Tweet of the day from Chris Dixon:

checkins: commodity. game mechanics: too easily copied. social graph: fb/twitter. tips/recs: v. interesting. monetization: most defensible.

And to pile on, monetization isn’t just about the monetization engine, it’s about building the relationships with the people who actually trust you enough to pay you money…and repeatedly pay you money for value delivered. And if we’re talking about the local-mobile-social space, then it’s going to be very interesting to see the upstarts (Foursquare, Gowalla, etc.) take on Yelp, who has a huge headstart in building monetized relationships with local businesses.

Question: is there enough dissatisfaction amongst small businesses with Yelp that there’s an opportunity for a newcomer to steal away the Yelp budget? Or will it be possible for said newcomer to convince the small business owner that there’s a need for incremental marketing spend through another local channel?