I’ve been thinking recently that yellow pages providers increasingly should think of themselves as “local holding companies,” with a portfolio of sites and brands to address different audience segments and/or advertiser needs. The “yellow pages” will be an effective tool for some consumers and advertisers but not everyone — one size doesn’t fit all anymore.
There are going to need to be other brands and sites that publishers operate in order to reach audiences and advertisers for whom “yellow pages” is no longer as meaningful or effective a tool. This is the concept in part behind AT&T’s Buzz.com
YPG appears to be moving in this general direction having recently acquired a restaurant vertical Restaurantica. And today the company announced that it had acquired RedFlagDeals.com, “a leader in providing online promotions and shopping tools to Canadians. With 2.2 million unique visitors every month.”
Yellow Pages Group (YPG) and 411 Local Search Corp., operator of 411.ca™, announced today that they have signed an agreement under which terms YPG will purchase the 411.ca brand and domain names and acquire an ownership interest in 411 Local Search Corp. The agreement will further enable both companies to leverage the online traffic between YPG’s leading Canada411.ca™ and YellowPages.ca™ properties, and 411.ca, a fast-growing online directory. This agreement that unites two of Canada’s largest local search engines will provide enhanced online reach for advertisers and a greater experience for users.
The deals site acquisition is particularly timely because coupons and offers are very hot (extending into mobile). There are two other shopping-related destinations that come with that deal according to the release:
- RedFlagDeals.com, the largest aggregator of discounts and coupons on the web and mobile with hundreds of new deals posted every week.
- PriceCanada.com, a price comparison engine, allowing users to search dozens of online retailers, compare product features and make informed purchases.
- Scarlett Lounge, the leading source for deals in fashion and beauty for women.
As an aside, YPG has a site with great potential in Answers (from Praized), but it’s currently underdeveloped. It could morph into a FourSquare or Aardvark-like site in mobile.
But what do you think of the general idea I’m asserting above: that YP publishers should operate a range of brands and sites in the local segment rather than relying on a single YP-branded site or more than one, similar YP-like sites?