NOT first! Where the heck is Rocky’s analysis of Yelp?

I had several people comment to me this week that they would like to see more timely updates in response to breaking news on companies. For example, the Yelp S-1 was released on Thursday and I probably won’t post my analysis until Monday.

So what’s up with that? No, it’s not because I’m lazy or slow.

For starters, I am not equipped to compete in the “first” game that the media like to play:

  • As much as I have formed a mutual admiration society with the folks at Bloomberg over the last five months, they haven’t (yet) comped me a Bloomberg terminal. I don’t get instant access to filings as they happen.
  • Even though it seems like it sometimes, this is not a full-time job for me. I’m usually juggling clients, briefings and other responsibilities. Unfortunately, I can’t drop everything else.

But, just as important, I don’t value the “first” game. If you strive to be first, more often than not, you end up regurgitating management’s story. To me, posting a leaked memo that management wants out is not a “get.” A “get” is posting critical analysis or information that management would rather not see published.

My renewed interest in financial journalism was sparked by a supposed local expert who was raving about what a great company Groupon is shortly after their initial S-1 filing. He clearly hadn’t read it and it just posted management’s talking points. Too many reporters don’t read the underlying documents that they’re reporting about.

Then there’s the fact that the information isn’t immediately actionable. Because Yelp is a private company that won’t be trading for at least a month or two, it doesn’t really matter if I don’t post until Monday. Given that dynamic, I’d rather do a more thorough analysis than make mistakes that need to be corrected later.

But in the meantime, if you want to read about Yelp, check out my five-part series on local search, specifically how Google Places is a strong competitor to Yelp.


About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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