Yell acquisition puts faith in TrustedPlaces.com
Yell Group has acquired online reviews business Trusted Places Limited for an undisclosed sum
Online customer reviews site TrustedPlaces.com has been acquired by the international directories business Yell Group Plc for an undisclosed sum just four years after it was founded.
The deal, which will enable users to recommend local businesses on Yell.com for the first time, sees Trusted Places co-founder and chief executive Sokratis Papafloratos become head of social products in the UK for Yell.
It also provides an exit for Howzat Media, the venture capital vehicle set up by entrepreneurs David Soskin and Hugo Burge, which invested £1m in 2007.
TrustedPlaces.com’s reviews of pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels, travel, and home maintenance providers, among others, attract 700,000 unique users each month. Its progress helped it secure white label deals with Daily Mail General Trust (DMGT) and its digital consumer division Associated Northcliffe Digital as well as a range of affiliate deals. The reviews will appear as part of Yell’s business listings and will ultimately be fully integrated within the Yell.com site.
Yell, which posted disappointing full-year figures on the London Stock Exchange last week and is heavily in debt will be seeking to boost its online performance. Despite a fall in revenue of 13.8% at current exchange rates to £2.1bn for the period to March 31, online revenue for the business for the group rose by 13.3% and represents an increasing proportion of turnover.
Mark Canon, president of new media at Yell in the UK, said: “This represents a significant growth opportunity. We all know that recommendations help local businesses to attract new consumers, so Yell.com and TrustedPlaces are a perfect fit.”
Of particular appeal are the online techniques and technologies developed by TrustedPlaces, which will be deployed across Yell’s international operations.
Papafloratos, a Growing Business Young Gun in 2009, commented: “The internet gives customers more influence in the reputation of a local business than ever before. This exciting partnership gives businesses the opportunity to harness the power of recommendations like never before.”