Geoff Donaker

Yelp's COO: We want to be independent (for now)

October 12, 2010: 11:56 AM ET
Despite rumored bids from Google and Yahoo and lawsuits from disgruntled small businesses, Geoff Donaker says the popular listings service is right where it wants to be -- connecting with the young and affluent.

Over the last year, popular business listings site Yelp experienced several notable developments -- and not all of them were welcome. The company founded in 2004 by former PayPal employees Jeremy Stoppelman and Russell Simmons, now serves over 30 million internationally, including non-English speaking citizens in France and Germany; its mobile app, which now include a Foursquare-like "check-in" feature, claims three million regular users.But over the last year, rumors and speculation have also cropped up.

In December, the company reportedly spurned Google's half-billion dollar bid because Yahoo (YHOO) jumped in with a $750 million offer. According to some reports, Yelp's management wasn't keen on being shackled to Yahoo and preferred Google (GOOG), but the latter tech giant refused to sweeten the pot. (In the end, negotiations supposedly fell apart.) And earlier this year, several small businesses filed lawsuits alleging that sales reps reached out and offered to hide negative reviews if they bought advertising.

COO Geoff Donaker recently sat down with Fortune to give a status update on Yelp's expansion and to address those pesky rumors. More

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