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Yelp files for $100 million IPO

Local business reviews site Yelp filed for a $100 million initial public offering (IPO) on Nov. 17. The company plans to go public in 2012, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Yelp generated $58.4 million in revenue through the first nine months of this year, an 80% increase year-over-year. Advertising accounted for 91% of the company’s total revenue for the period. Revenue from local advertising grew by 67% year-over-year to hit $40.3 million. Revenue from brand advertising also rose by 67% to total $12.7 million.

During the period, Yelp upped its spending on sales and marketing by 60% year-over-year to $38.5 million. The company said that the money was put toward “initiatives relating to local business advertiser acquisition.”

Local advertising includes performance- and impression-based advertising on the Yelp website as well as enhanced profile pages. Brand advertising includes graphic and text display ads on the company’s website. Yelp does not feature local or brand advertising on its mobile apps, but the company said in its regulatory filing that “we see the mobile market as an attractive monetization opportunity.”

During the third quarter, Yelp’s website averaged 61 million unique visitors, up 63% compared with the prior year. The Yelp platform maintains more than 22 million reviews as of Sept. 30.

Approximately 529,000 free business pages had been claimed as of Sept. 30, and in the quarter that ended on that date, the company said it recognized revenue from approximately 19,000 local business accounts.

Yelp broke down the demographics of its users to reveal that 42% are in the 18-34 age bracket, 45% graduated college, and 36% earn more than $100,000 annually.

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