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Feb 22 2006
LiveDeal Launches Free Rental Listings
Online classifieds site LiveDeal.com launched a free rental listings service today. Read about it here and here.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  22:38 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 22 2006
We're No. 2?
If you just read the headline from each of the companies reporting on the new national syndication research results, you could be excused if you thought that a lot of companies are the most used Yellow Pages directories. Some companies are taking the results from a few cities and seem to be implying that they are the national leaders. We are concerned that this is a slippery slope.

Who is No. 1 among cola beverages? If you ask that question in Texas, the answer would be Dr. Pepper. If you exclude fountain sales, Pepsi sells the most nationwide. But overall, Coke is the leader. Frankly, I don't really care. I drink the cola beverage that I prefer.

In the automotive category, General Motors says Chevrolet was the top-selling brand in the U.S. last year, but Ford disagrees. Ford bases its leadership claim on third-party data compiled by auto research firm R.L. Polk. Unlike Coke and Pepsi, which combined have over 90 percent of the cola market share, Ford and Chevrolet face a significant challenger in Toyota, whose brand is closing the gap, particularly when bulk sales of vehicles to fleets aren't counted.

A medium is a different animal than a beverage or a car, but the ability to show your publication as the leader in a particular market, especially on a cost-per-use basis, can be a valuable tool. If syndicated research is here to stay, and The Kelsey Group hopes it will be because it supports our ROI story, we need to have standards that everyone who participates agrees to.

If the Yellow Pages industry wants the credibility that syndicated research gives it, headlines and claims must be reasonable. I am not suggesting that any company has not told the truth in its press releases, but it is most important that the perception by advertisers reflect reality in the particular markets in which they are trying to reach their users. Otherwise, syndicated research won't be taken seriously.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  John Kelsey at  16:32 | permalink | comments [5] | trackbacks [3]



Feb 22 2006
PreFound Joins 'Social Web'
Red Herring reports on a social search engine that has launched called PreFound. Like others in this growing space � led most notably by Yahoo! (Flickr, MyWeb, del.icio.us etc.) � its success will depend on gaining a critical mass of users to do all the tagging and indexing on which a social search model is based.

The challenge is that such users are currently made up of a small early adopter crowd, and there are only so many of them to go around among the growing numbers of start-ups in the space. Competition from a Web giant such as Yahoo! exacerbates this challenge.

From the article:

In an interview last week, PreFound�s CEO Steve Mansfield said the site was looking for experts to become featured finders on the site. To do this, these experts must upload groups of links on a topic that they�ve tagged and organized on the web.

It sounds like this means it will rely less on the "masses" of users than on a smaller segment of experts on certain topics (sounds a lot like About.com, which isn't necessarily social search). This means it could be less under the pressure of gaining the critical mass of content contributors mentioned above because it will be more of a niche offering of knowledge and info in certain categories.

Unlike some of Yahoo!'s efforts in the social search space that will rely on users' intrinsic desire to share and tag content, PreFound will incentivize contributions by sharing AdSense-generated revenues. So it will come down to a question of whether or not the company is effective at attracting these contributors and if it's a compelling enough experience for users of the site.

We'll take a closer look at PreFound and the social search space in an upcoming White Paper.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  13:17 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 22 2006
Search Portal Rankings Rundown
A study by research firm Compete (found via Search Engine Watch) found Google has the most loyalty among its users. Here is how the rest of the search engines stacked up:

* Google: 71.0%
* Yahoo!: 48.1%
* MSN: 27.8%
* Excite: 23.4%
* AOL: 23.2%
* Ask: 21.6%
* AltaVista: 16.6%
* Clusty: 10.3%
* A9: 6.4%
* Lycos: 5.8%

Meanwhile, a separate study by BIGresearch reports that Yahoo! leads in overall purchase influence. The study broke down purchasing decisions by category, including electronics, apparel and automotive. Google came out on top in electronics, while Yahoo! led most other categories. Read the release and breakdown of scoring here.

And finally, the top Web sites for overall traffic in January were reported by Nielsen/NetRatings. Yahoo! came out on top, and four of the top five sites were portals. Google came in fourth.

These studies aren't directly related, but they all involve search engines and portals and continue to paint a picture of the battle for usage and market share. Local is a large and very important piece of that market share, although it was not specifically broken out in any of these studies.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  12:42 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 22 2006
Tons Going On
There are many things happening that I'd like to write and post about, but I've been unable to because of travel. Yesterday I was at the NAA conference and moderated a very interesting panel on "free" classifieds. I attended another interesting discussion on local search and talked to many vendors in the exhibit hall. I hope to post a roundup late today.

Meanwhile, Search Engine Journal has a roundup of interesting news, and Om Malik blogs (as in the verb "to blog") about a new Google-Earthlink Wi-Fi partnership in San Francisco (and possibly beyond). Here's more from the Earthlink Blog.

Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Greg Sterling at  12:37 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 22 2006
Online Auto Ads On the Rise
eMarketer predicts an uptick in online auto ads this year. Auto advertisers will spend 1.9 billion in online advertising in 2006 and almost $2.7 in 2007 � up from 1.4 billion last year, according to the research firm.

Other notable facts cited by eMarketer:

* 70 percent of auto buyers use the Web at some point in the buying cycle.

* Despite online growth, overall ad budgets will remain flat this year (GM has cut $200 million out of its $1.5 billion budget).

* Through November 2005 online auto ad spending increased 12.1 percent, while traditional media spends went down 2.5 percent.

Though we're talking about national ad campaigns, the numbers are rooted largely in local buying activity and online usage growth among all consumers. Read more here.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  12:16 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 22 2006
YPG Looking South?
Interesting story in yesterday's National Post (Canada). The topic is not entirely new, the possible acquisition of a U.S. publisher by Canada's Yellow Pages Group. The article does provide a sourced comment from YPG's CFO, and it offers some detailed speculation of what YPG migth consider buying � namely choice pieces of Verizon Information Services (which is on the record as being a pending spin-off) and/or AT&T Yellow Pages (which is not). It's clear that any existing Yellow Pages player buying either company outright would be biting off way more than it could chew.

You can read the National Post article here.

The article is yet another sign of what we expect to see in the next few years, which is the final de-linking of Yellow Pages from telecoms in the United States.

Ownership of directories in the U.S. is becoming the bastion of private equities and strategic players (i.e., other publishers and media companies). This raises all kinds of interesting scenarios involving cross-media combinations and perhaps some very strange bedfellows.

The rationale for a telecom keeping a publisher comes down to one thing � cash. Do they need it all right now, or would they rather keep getting it a little bit at a time?
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  10:04 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]










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