Yell buying TrustedPlaces to inject user reviews in too Yellow Pages

It’s lost more than a tenth of its revenue in the last year; now it’s buying one of the most talked-about user-contributed local reviews sites.

Yell says it’s acquiring TrustedPlaces so that, “for the first time, enable consumers to recommend a local business through its website”, which already has two million of its own listings and 399,000 advertisers.

Sounds like TrustedPlaces may even disappear as its own brand – its listings will be added to, “leading to full integration under the domain”, according to the release.

And Yell Group plans to spread the TrustedPlaces technology throughout its US, Spain and Latin America assets – that’s Yellowbook and Yell Publicidad respectively.

TrustedPlaces co-founder Sokratis Papafloratos. Photo by Richard Moross on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Yell’s UK new media president Mark Canon, in the announcement: “This represents a significant growth opportunity. We all know that recommendations help local businesses to attract new consumers, so and TrustedPlaces are a perfect fit.”

It’s clearly a great opportunity for Yell to inject some real people’s reviews and ratings in to its business. But its business depends on the listings that those businesses pay for – so how will they feel about being open to users’ criticisms?

GCap, before being absorbed in Global Radio, tried a similar thing by acquiring WeLoveLocal in a small deal back in 2008. It’s used it to some degree to thread listeners’ local reviews in to its programming and ad sales – but there are far more opportunities for Yell to leverage such a site, as it’s already in the text ads space.