According to published reports, The Kelsey Group has found that small and medium business enterprises spend about $22 Billion on local marketing. This is enough to attract the new (Yahoo, Google, Ask Jeeves and Overture) as well as the traditional local advertising experts (Verizon, SBC and Donnelly). Yahoo launches local search product presents some information about the changing nature of online look-up for local businesses.
Several things to note about online local marketing:
- More look up being done on line - 37% - is probably more due to easier access to the Internet than preference to a Yellow Page directory
- It is still easier, faster to find things in the better organized (or at least more familiar) Yellow Pages than online, especially geographically coordinated information like a local Yellow Pages provides. Any electronic design that relies on easier ZIP-Code data or city-state pair for localization rather than proximity searching which is more challenging and expensive, though not impossible, is making an error. And most current services sort by zip code initially and have made this error.
- Integrated information-geolocation services which should easily dominate local search and advertising have not produced the results anticipated either by the information brokers or geoservices companies
- The wrong business model - integrated information -geolocation services are not just Yellow Pages and they are not just search results. The current efforts of Yellow Page firms and the search engines are off the mark. There is a huge opportunity here. Be that as it may, the costs to develop, source data, sell services, market and build customers at a scale required to be successful limits the reasonable number of contenders to the usual suspects for this application
And then there are new services like this:
Called Insider Pages, the Web site lets people sign up to connect with friends and mine their recommendations for local shops and services. The free product, still in experimental form for Los Angeles residents only, puts a new spin on social-networking services like Friendster by infusing it with the local insider feel of Craigslist.org.
- a Ménage à trios of electronic services – social networking + search + favorite's list. Brought to us from the inventive folks at Pasadena based IdeaLab! Overture founder set to unveil new search venture takes the approach of combining different web modalities to arrive at a new product class- certainly a popular approach to new product development. The whole social-networking segment is hot - though other than making some initial investors money, it hasn't proven that it is sustainable or a business model that makes sense. And Yahoo’s $1.83 Billion purchase of Overture is proof enough that search is a viable product class. And everybody has that quaint coffee house off the beaten track or unique boutique they'd love to share with 10 or 20,000 of their nearest neighbors. The combination is therefore a winner? Well that remains to be seen.