Business

To fight Google and Foursquare, Yelp frees its data

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Image Credit: Ed Kwon/Flickr

Get ready to see Yelp reviews all over the web.

The local business discovery and review site today announced a revamped API, which increases the number of calls a third-party app can make to Yelp’s data to 25,000 calls per day, compared to an earlier 100 call limit. That 2,500% increase makes Yelp’s data far more attractive to third-party developers, which can use the company’s open API free of charge.

Yelp’s limited data access to unverified developers seemed limited compared to Foursquare, which offers 5,000 calls per hour prior to approval, and Google Places, which offers 100,000 free calls per day to folks with registered credit cards. Still, the move makes Yelp’s listings, ratings, photos, and other content much more readily available.

Yelp had been hesitant to unleash its content, afraid a competitor would scrape its data and grow larger than Yelp. Those fears weren’t wholly unfounded: In 2011, Google used Yelp review content without attributing it to Yelp, which has led to continued antagonism between the two companies.

But now that Yelp has become ubiquitous, with online reviews in the U.S. and elsewhere, the company is more concerned with maximizing exposure and ad revenue than guarding its data.

Yelp has scored major wins with companies like Apple, Yahoo, Pebble, and BMW, which use the Yelp API to supply their apps with data. This move will encourage thousands of smaller startups to join them.

 


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