SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – April 1, 2006- Yelp (www.yelp.com), the new personal recommendation site for finding real opinions on everything local, announced today its acquisition of the rights to the Pets.com dog puppet personality. The purchase surprised some industry watchers but was met with widespread appeal from Yelp's widespread community.
"Pets.com might not have done a lot of things right back in the day, but they knew how to create an icon of the times that really spoke to the people. While conducting our own mascot search, the idea of resurrecting their sock puppet dog seemed like a no brainer," said Nish Nadaraja, Yelp's Director of Marketing.
The puppet, voiced and brought to life by comedian Michael Ian Black, was really nothing more than a socket puppet with button eyes and a Timex watch around its neck, but that did not stop millions of adoring fans from falling in love with the lovable creation. The puppet, in fact, gained more fame via commercials and other TV appearances than Pets.com, but was sadly "sent to the dog pound" after the demise of the internet start-up.
Through negotiations with the puppet's agents and representation, a deal was struck in late March 2006 for the "use and likeness of the sock puppet" to become the sole property of Yelp.
Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder of Yelp and owner of his own dog Darwin, had this to say: "In the past we downplayed the canine implications of our name, but after reading some inspirational discussions on our Talk Boards, we realized that the time had come for Yelp to have more of personality. And while I would have liked to have used my own puppy, he wasn't nearly as well trained as need be for something of this caliber."
Yelp’s PR Team has already started the branding process for "Yelpy the Dog" and is expected to start a small to medium sized local TV launch, along with some unique product placement opportunities that are still under wraps.
"The future looks bright for Yelp and Yelpy," quipped Mr. Stoppelman. "We aim to show our competition that our reviewers' barks, or rather opinions, are indeed as strong as their respective bites."
The amount of the purchase was not disclosed.