Yelp is really struggling

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Yelp shares plummeted 27% on Wednesday to their lowest level since March 2013. The online review platform alarmed investors by revealing another slowdown in traffic growth and downgrading its sales targets for the fourth quarter in a row.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Yelp is struggling to get a positive review from Wall Street.

And it’s failing. The popular restaurant and shopping review site took a loss of $22 million in the fourth quarter last year, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of losses. In the same quarter of 2014, it posted a profit of $32 million.

Yelp disappointed on another key metric watched by investors: earnings before interest, taxes and other key costs, a yardstick known as EBITDA. Yelp was expected to make over $21 million in these earnings but it only made $17.5 million.

That miss — along with a rough day in markets overall — sent Yelp’s stock off a cliff Monday afternoon, down 13%.

Yelp’s stock hit an all-time high of $101 nearly two years ago. Now the stock trades for a mere $15 a share. Its earnings were unexpectedly posted earlier than expected Monday afternoon due to a third-party publishing error.

The company also announced that its chief financial officer, Rob Krolik, would be leaving, and a search for a new CFO is underway.

Amid slowing sales and trouble retaining talented workers, Yelp faces a credibility issue. Media reports about fake reviews — or even hateful reviews — hurt Yelp’s reputation as a reliable source.

Yelp’s sales growth slowed down last year. Sales grew 40% in the fourth quarter. That may sound good but its sales grew 55% in the same period of 2014.

Despite the stock’s dramatic drop, it’s still expensive. Yelp is trading at 59 times its expected future earnings. The average for S&P 500 companies is about 20.

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