Yelp shares hit the stock market today and soared, despite mixed reviews of the consumer review website's long-term prospects. The initial public offering of 7.1 million shares had been priced at $15 a share, which was above the target range of $12 to $14 it set last month; that valued Yelp at around $900 million, CNN notes. But shares were up 62% in early trading, at $24.60, Reuters reports, valuing the company at around $1.43 billion. That's 17 times its revenue in 2011.
The 8-year-old website hosts some 25 million reviews of restaurants and other businesses, and lures close to 66 million visitors a month, but has never turned a profit, and is more than $40 million in debt. Analysts expected the stock to jump on its first day of trading, but with sites like Facebook and FourSquare seeking more money from local advertising, they are wary of recommending Yelp as a long-term investment. The president of IPOdesktop.com tells AP he is a "little bit skeptical" about Yelp's future prospects. "Sooner or later people will be wanting them to make money," he says. "They won't go away," but "at some point in time, people are going to get tired of them losing money all the time."