Google said last night that 4 million local businesses has claimed listings in the Local Business Center (now Google Places). Half of those were in the US.
As part of the announcement Google said it’s extending “enhanced listings,” now being called Tags to new cities:
For just $25 per month, businesses in select cities can make their listings stand out on Google.com and Google Maps with Tags. As of today, we’re rolling out Tags to three new cities — Austin, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. — in addition to ongoing availability in Houston and San Jose, CA. In the coming weeks we’ll also be introducing Tags in Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Boulder and San Francisco.
Effectively this is advertising within organic map results. Regardless, as an exercise, let’s imagine what it would look like for Google if all two million US local businesses that had claimed listings were to advertise at the highly affordable $25 per month (or $300 per year). It would represent new revenue of $600 million.
Google has said it is going to bring back Local Listing Ads, which can cost considerably more (up to $300 I believe), but also operate on a subscription or flat-fee basis.
Methinks there’s a lot of low-hanging revenue here for Google with just a little additional effort. That revenue could exceed a billion dollars in the near-to-medium term.