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Yelp Inc (YELP) Earnings: Can Mobile Make Money?

Yelp will release its earnings tomorrow, and the big question on investors minds is whether or not the firm can leverage mobile to bring in revenue.

Mobile is, quite possibly, more important for Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) than it is for any other social network. The firm concentrates its efforts on making the web local, and users are most likely to look for businesses while out and about. The social network began trying to monetize mobile at the end of 2012. Tomorrow, May 1, brings the first earnings report where we’ll get to see some of the results.

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A Raymond James report on Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) estimates that the company will perform broadly in line with consensus analyst estimates. That means, according to the report, a loss of 7 cents per share in the first three months of 2013, on revenue of 210 million. On today’s market, Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) shares fell a fraction to $26.52 at time of writing.

Right now, Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) has to be all about revenue expansion. The company is still a growing social network, and investors seem reasonably alright with the lack of a profit right now. The firm needs to show that it can compete in social media in the future, and in this quarter that means making some headway on mobile monetization.

The same story pervades the web industry. People are moving away from desktop browsing and onto mobile application usage. It’s a trend, and nobody seems likely to put an end to it. That means web companies are going to have to catch up and Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP), with its on-the-go centered service, will have to be at the forefront of that change.

There are pitfalls ahead. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has redesigned its business page offering to appeal more to users, and the company is making a serious play for Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) users. It will take a while to get that ball rolling, but once it starts it might be very difficult to stop.

Some big investors have revealed their belief in Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) by making public large stakes in the company. John Burbank‘s Passport Capital disclosed that it owned more than 6 percent of the company back in February,

Other big questions that are sure to be asked on the earnings call, and some which investors should ask themselves, include: what the company plans to do internationally, how display ads performed, and most importantly, are social media stocks beginning another bubble?

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Mystic Maggie

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