Not long ago DexOne (formerly RHD) launched a vertical strategy with a weddings site. I didn’t talk to the company but assumed this was the first in a series of verticals that it was going to pursue. Now, SuperMedia is doing something similar but more aggressive. It has built a new “AskLearnHire” platform and three new verticals at launch, all with the “prefix” Super:
They all follow the same “template” and these are the first verticals in a larger planned rollout. The sites try to capture and address different stages of the consumer research and decision-making cycle with Q&A, content and lead-gen, hence the tabs Ask, Learn, Hire:
Consumers can ask a question and get it answered by a service provider; they can read content (written by writers but later by SMBs) and/or they can submit an RFP/lead-gen form:
According to the press release out this morning:
During the beta phase, leads will be sent to participating businesses at no charge. After official launch, businesses can purchase exclusive leads at a competitive market fee. Leads are only offered to one business at a time with information about the consumer’s needs so businesses can evaluate before deciding to accept that lead. Businesses are only charged for the lead if they decide to accept. The consumer’s contact information is only shared with the business once the lead has been accepted, which eliminates consumers being contacted by multiple businesses.
As you can see from the presence of the cape-wearing fellow, the SuperGuarantee is a prominent part of the entire offering. SuperMedia is trying to build lots of brand equity around the SuperGuarantee, which I’ve been told independently by several people at the company is very popular and “working.”
During a call last week, I was cautioned by SuperMedia VP Robyn Rose that the sites are a work in progress and in beta. The initial three categories were chosen because they’re popular on Superpages and involve varying degrees of research and consideration.
SuperMedia is trying to learn from consumer and SMB interaction with them whether and how to modify the sites before proceeding with a larger rollout. Conceptually this is very creative and interesting and trying to go beyond and provide more utility than the typical profile page details and content that are common to directories. There’s also broad SEO potential here in the Ask and Learn categories.
The sites will also gain exposure on Superpages.com and vice versa.
Taking a broader view, the changes and new efforts at Dex, Yellowpages.com and now SuperMedia reflect a time of transition and change in the US directory industry. The local market is now incredibly dynamic and competitive (as it extends into mobile) and these efforts are new attempts to bring more content, relevance and value to consumers and advertisers. In the case of SuperMedia, in addition to its various syndication programs, this vertical strategy is an effort to not only provide a useful consumer experience but also something of a hedge against reliance on a single consumer destination.
What do you think of this new vertical approach?