YP.com Begins Self Reinvention

Earlier this year AT&T acquired the domain YP.com from LiveDeal for roughly $3.8 million. The brand-related reasons for the acquisition were obvious. But today, in a little bit of a surprise to me, AT&T/Yellowpages.com is relaunching YP.com as a distinct destination that will evolve further away from a traditional IYP.

I was told by Product SVP David Yoo that this was a first step. On the back end, however, the site has been rebuilt “from the ground” up with a focus on improved relevance and increasing content aggregation. From David Yoo’s post:

As a compliment to our YELLOWPAGES.COM property, which focuses on presentation and placement of geo-targeted advertisers, YP.COM Beta sharpens the local search experience by providing consumers with increased relevant local results, while providing advertisers with more relevant targeting. To pull it off, we’ve been busy!

Makes sense, right? Increased relevancy leads to better results. Better results lead to happier consumers and advertisers. It’s just that simple

Our teams built YP.COM Beta from the ground up. From new data systems and a new local search stack to a new user interface and design. We also added some great features to help consumers discover and transact with local businesses:

  • Expandable local maps in results
  • Improved search refinements
  • Aggregated content about local businesses
  • Videos, coupons, and promotions from local businesses

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I asked whether YP.com was being thought of as a kind of lab that would be used to test features before they were rolled into Yellowpages.com and Yoo said that it wasn’t envisioned that way. It’s a different site with a different mission apparently. This is not unlike Idearc’s LocalSearch.com.

In one sense the new YP.com can be seen in the context of the YP industry’s increasing diversification into different types of sites as well as verticals (see my post about Yellowpages.ca). This site is intended to appeal to different categories of users and use cases.

Take a look and tell me what you think. Again Yoo said this was a “first step.” I haven’t yet had time to check it out but I’m curious to hear what you have to say.

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13 Responses to “YP.com Begins Self Reinvention”

  1. jspats Says:

    From a sales standpoint, customers with paid advertising on yellowpages.com may be concerned about yp.com and no mirror image of their ads, especially if public beomes aware of site.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    I would assume ATT with use it as a distribution mechanism for advertisers.

  3. David Mihm Says:

    I do not understand the multi-site strategy at all. Terrible idea for SEO, and incomprehensible that they think the YellowPages.com crowd will somehow be turned off by this look-and-feel…what is the fascination with continuing to maintain a “traditional IYP”?

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    Lots of investment, 20M uniques. Don’t want to rock that boat I suppose.

  5. john spatafora Says:

    David;
    from Kelsey
    http://blog.kelseygroup.com/index.php/2009/07/23/att-launches-ypcom-as-webby-complement-to-yellowpagescom/

  6. David Mihm Says:

    How does 20M uniques compare to Yelp or Citysearch? Worth holding onto? Or worth a risk that you might lose a couple MMs & try to cut into that market with better UX and broader, more accurate data? Purely from a search traffic standpoint, why not 301 all pages from one to the other?

  7. David Mihm Says:

    Thanks, John…from Peter K’s post:

    “Yellowpages.com isn’t likely to focus as much on any media aspirations. It is where people will “go because they want to find something quickly” on a platform “they can trust,” says Yoo.”

    So is the search functionality of YP.com a lot slower, or is there something inherently UNtrustworthy about YP.com?

  8. Greg Sterling Says:

    John/David:

    The bottom line is that the IYP products created by the major publishers are too narrow. They have plateaued in some respects as consumer destinations. However, it’s perceived to be too much of a “risk” to totally reinvent your flagship destination or broaden it out and be an inch deep. Also, in a big company, taking chances and experimenting is very hard.

    So this represents a way to build a consumer product that will capture potentially more users and a broader range of potential use cases. The dilemma/question is how far do they push it from the flagship site and brand.

  9. john spatafora Says:

    Greg/David;

    All valid points and good questions. I am in sales w/ATT w/SEO/SEM/PPC sales background. Sometimes I fight against the tide w/”print” educated managers. Now I am psyched ATT in moving this way w/the SMB. Look at the exsisting customer base in print!! I digress, sorry.
    Lets ask Woo. I emailed him today re my client’s ad dollars, ie banners, video’s, audio that presently appeared on yellowpages.com, but are naked on the yp.com beta. Some clients are going to be PO, if people start using the beta for search. Ask David Woo.
    Thx for the follow David on Tweet……….note I run from the tech dialog!!

    http://betalabs.yellowpages.com/

  10. David Mihm Says:

    “However, it’s perceived to be too much of a “risk” to totally reinvent your flagship destination”

    I can understand the hesitation to do this, but at some point, aren’t the YP’s going to need to do something pretty dramatic to stay profitable online? Or end up having their online market share eaten by the more innovative startups (Yelp, UrbanSpoon, etc), not to mention the search engines?

    John/AT&T — I actually like the new interface and some of the features of YP.com, I’m just not sold on splitting brand (and search) equity…Local is already fragmented enough! :D

  11. Greg Sterling Says:

    It’s a difficult call: single brand/all eggs in one basket vs multiple brands/CPG strategy. Single brand hasn’t really worked for newspapers.

  12. Todd Says:

    The new search looks improved on the surface. The key will be the impact to call and click activity for advertisers. The approach of trialing the the new search functionality on yp.com, before migrating to yellowpages.com is smart.

  13. Walt Reiss Says:

    The reader may want to keep their ear to the rail, so to speak. Something entirely new is coming, and it will make the IYP market look like the Wright Brother’s plane as compared to the Boeing 777.

    You can help bring about this massive improvement. Visit SHUMOMO.COM in the near future for ways you can help.

    SHUMOMO: The only Worldwide Product & Business Directory.

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