Yelp Drops on Facebook Site to Find Professional Services

Yelp Inc. slipped the most in more than four months after Facebook Inc. started testing a new part of its site for searching and rating local businesses.

Facebook’s feature lets people search in a local area for services, such as nail salons and take-out restaurants. Users then see ranked results, with reviews, star ratings and contact information for the business -- an area where San Francisco-based Yelp has dominated. Facebook has quietly been building up the information through partnerships with businesses and data companies.

The new Facebook site may threaten Yelp, Angie’s List Inc. and other search and customer-review websites because of the weight of friends’ opinions in making decisions about what products and local businesses people use. Facebook has long been testing related features, such as telling you which of your friends has checked in at a place you’re visiting, and what they said about it at the time.

“We’re in the early stages of testing a way for people to easily find more Pages for the services they’re interested in,” Mike Manning, a spokesman for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, wrote Tuesday in an e-mail.

Yelp declined 9.2 percent to $26.87 at the close in New York, the biggest single-day drop since July 29.

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