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Yelp Promotes Local Sales Head Nachman To CRO

The move emphasizes the shift to performance-based ads from the SMB landscape, while Facebook and others continue outside pressure.

Yelp's Jed Nachman
Yelp’s Jed Nachman

Yelp has promoted Local Sales Head Jed Nachman to serve as its chief revenue officer, as the company continues to fend off Facebook and Google from encroaching on its core guide business, while it works to shore up revenues amid quitting display ads cold turkey in an attempt to build a new foundation on mobile-focused, performance based ads from SMBs.

Yelp often has a love-hate relationship with local businesses — many resent the bad reviews, but nevertheless still rely on it as a key source of discovery. And that’s where Nachman could prove his value. As much as anyone at Yelp, he is well-positioned to convince those SMBs to work with the company, as he’s spent nine years in local ad sales. The ability to drive business from smaller entities will test the relationships and focus Nachman has accrued over that period.

“Since joining Yelp as Head of Local Sales in 2007, Jed has built our sales organization, including client services and revenue operations, from 10 to over 2000 team members,” Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said in a blog post. “Along the way, Jed and his team have grown Yelp revenue from $500 thousand to $500 million. He has also been an integral member of our executive team — and helped establish our positive, energetic and highly accountable company culture. Now as Chief Revenue Officer, Jed will lead our local advertising business, take a more prominent role in company-wide planning and help push the company past the $1 billion revenue milestone.”

Serving SMBs

Prying cost-per-click-based ad dollars from local businesses isn’t Nachman’s only challenge. And it’s not his only strength. It’s worth noting that last year, Nachman became a board member of PaySimple, a service that helps SMBs manage their payments.

In addition to trying to catch up to Yelp users who primarily encounter the companies’ listings and reviews through its mobile app, as desktop usage declines, the company has sought to move into the food delivery and reservations business, seeking to blunt the growth of GrubHub/Seamless and OpenTable, respectively.

The February acquisition of GrubHub/Seamless rival Eat24  helped propel “transactions revenue” to $12 million from $1.3 million in Q3 2014. And last April, Yelp expanded its restaurant reservation service, SeatMe, as part of its wider YelpNow on-demand search-based food services product.

Yelp and OpenTable had been partners in restaurant reservations, but the April expansion efforts to do it on its own ended that arrangement. At the time the partnership ended, all affiliates and partners combined contributed no more than 10 percent of OpenTable’s reservations, meaning Yelp was in the single digits, sources close to both companies have confirmed in interviews with GeoMarketing.

The dissolution of that deal was kept quiet until Reuters reported it last month, which noted that Yelp claimed to have signed up 18,000 restaurants to its reservations offering. Meanwhile, this fall, OpenTable signed a similar arrangement with Foursquare, which has only placed more pressure on Yelp and its ties to an important local business category.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.