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Facebook review service pops up, Yelp shares drop

[SAN FRANCISCO] A Facebook service that provides reviews of local businesses popped up on the Internet on Tuesday, and shares in crowd-sourced reviews star Yelp dropped.

A review service based on feedback from Facebook users launched at facebook.com/services with no fanfare or formal announcement.

A banner atop the page invited visitors to "Find local businesses with the best Facebook reviews and ratings."

As word of the Facebook local recommendation service spread, Yelp shares dove more than nine percent to end the New York Stock Exchange trading day at US$26.88.

Category options ranged broadly from plumbers and pet services to race cars, doctors and restaurants. Search boxes on the page showed searches could be done in an array of countries.

California-based Facebook has been steadily tapping into the rich trove of public information provided by its more than 1.5 billion users to provide helpful services at the social network.

Recommending businesses could open doors for revenue with marketing or e-commerce opportunities.

The move also ramps competition between Facebook and services such as Yelp and Angie's List.

Yelp and Angie's List face increasing competition from TripAdvisor and other online players such as Facebook and Amazon.

AFP