Yelp Inc., the user-generated review site that’s planning an initial public offering, reported a wider loss in 2011 after increasing spending to attract reviewers and make the service easier to use. Yelp had a $16.9 million loss last year, compared with a loss of $9.74 million in 2010, according to a regulatory filing. Marketing and product-development spending both increased more than 50 percent.

Yelp’s sales and marketing expenses increased 61 percent to $54.5 million, while product development costs rose 77 percent to $11.6 million, according to the filing. The loss attributable to shareholders was $1.10 a share, compared with 71 cents a year earlier.

The company’s revenue surged 74 percent to $83.3 million, with local advertising accounting for the largest portion. Unique visitors to the site increased 67 percent to 65.8 million in 2011, while reviews rose 64 percent to 24.8 million. Yelp lets users post reviews on everything from dentists to restaurants to public parks.

Source:  The Washington Post with Bloomberg