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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Jan. 18

3. Zuck's Cry for Yelp

Aw shucks, Zuck! Did you really need a huge press event to step all over itty bitty Yelp (YELP)?

Next time, pick on somebody your own size!

Facebook (FB - Get Report), which sports a $65 billion market cap, mind you, used Tuesday's mystery event at its Menlo Park headquarters to unveil "Graph Search," a new way to search the billion people and more than 240 billion photos on Facebook. The frenzied days leading up to the much-hyped press conference had Facebook fans speculating about everything from a video-streaming deal with Netflix to a Facebook phone.

In the end, however, all they really got was a bigger search bar at the top of each page. And, to be precise, they are not even getting even that much. Right now the beta-search technology is available only to a small number of people who use Facebook in the U.S. and are willing to sign up and wait for it.

But Facebook's users were not the only ones CEO Mark Zuckerberg left wanting.

Wall Street's analyst community didn't get any specifics on how they plan to monetize this new function. All Zuck had to offer them was a vague promise that "this could be a business over time."

Facebook's investors were left similarly unfulfilled. Shares of the company, which had gained momentum in recent weeks following its post-IPO funk, fell almost 3% after the announcement.

Facebook's competitors also left Zuck's party empty-handed in a sense. Google (GOOG), which sports a $238 billion market cap, exited with the knowledge that it did not have a real serious search competitor, despite Facebook's hefty valuation. As for Apple (AAPL), well, it departed with the knowledge that Zuck is not the hoodied second coming of Steve Jobs.

Then again, Apple has its own problems right now and neither Steve Jobs nor Larry Bird is walking through that door to help it.

Which brings us to Yelp.

Yelp, which weighs in at relatively puny $1.3 billion in value, saw its shares tumble 6% on worries that Facebook's new offering would cut into its recommendations business. Specifically, Yelp investors fretted that Facebook users would eschew its services in order to query Facebook for things like "delis that don't make my friends sick" or "steakhouses that serve salmon that my annoying friends will like."

Yep, what started out as an opportunity for Zuck to prove his company deserves to be in the same fighting class as heavyweights Google and Apple turned into a whimpering cry for Yelp. And nothing more.
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