Archive for the ‘Internet Yellow Pages’ Category

Dex Contest Promotes Weddings Vertical

May 21, 2010

Dex is running a contest to promote its recently launched weddings site:

And this week 40 finalists were announced:

Selected from more than 1,000 entries, the finalists are comprised of brides and grooms seeking to win $10,000 by sharing how they plan to keep wedding costs low without sacrificing style and quality.

Now it’s up to the public to select the final four couples who will take home $10,000 apiece. Public voting is taking place from now until May 28, 2010 on the DexKnows Weddings website and on the site’s Facebook fan page. Winners will be announced June 2, 2010.

Celebrity wedding planner Yifat Oren — who has produced weddings for Kevin Costner, Mariska Hargitay, and Jason Bateman, among other high-profile clients – selected the finalists based on their creativity and inspiring alternatives to traditional and often costly wedding items.

It’s a smart idea and way to promote the site.

Next up, a reality TV show?

Yell (Finally) Buys UK’s TrustedPlaces

May 20, 2010

UK directory publisher, and parent of Yellowbook in the US, Yell.com  has acquired social directory site and Yelp competitor TrustedPlaces. According to the press release out this morning:

The combination of Yell’s database of over two million businesses with TrustedPlaces’ proven expertise in generating recommendations from local consumers represents a major shake-up of the fast-growing local reviews market.

It will drive strong benefit to Yell’s 399,000 mainly small business advertisers, through generating additional leads and providing a richer online interaction with existing and potential new consumers . . .

Initially, TrustedPlaces reviews will be added to Yell’s business listings, leading to full integration under the Yell.com domain.

The company also expects that the techniques and technologies that have made TrustedPlaces successful in the UK will be shared with other Yell Group operating companies in the US, Spain and Latin America.

Under the deal, Sokratis Papafloratos, chief executive and co-founder of TrustedPlaces, is joining Yell as head of social products in the UK.

This is a smart move by Mark Canon, Matthew Bottomley and company. It complements what they’re doing with Yell.com and provides reach to a younger and more “urban” demographic; it’s sort of like AT&T’s Buzz.com. The difference is that TrustedPlaces is an established site with an existing following.

Among the social directories in the UK, there are three main players: Qype, Yelp and TrustedPlaces. These three sites, I would imagine, had more traction in selected verticals with specific demographics vs. the more traditional Yell. The company will also have the benefit of Sokratis Papafloratos’ thinking about social media across its European properties and in the US to some degree.

I was urging Yell to do this in 2007:

Yell has pushed its digital properties in many interesting directions: products, mobile, classifieds. Though weighted down by regulatory controls in the UK, it also benefits by being the sole owner of the yellow pages brand.

Yell might want to look at acquiring or developing a property like TrustedPlaces to complement its traditional online directory product — if that isn’t an oxymoron.

TrustedPlaces had developed a strong property but was challenged to sell effectively to small businesses. I had this conversation a number of times with Papafloratos over the past couple of years. Most US local startups were in the same position; however emerging local ad networks such as CityGrid help take some pressure off by helping monetize page views and lookups.

As part of new digital-centric momentum and strategy, Yell recently did a major overhaul of its site, introducing several useful new features but most dramatically providing street-level photography to make the site more engaging and challenge Google Maps in greater London and several other UK cities.

TrustedPlaces has (or had) a partnership with the newspaper-owned LocalPeople, a network of “hyper-local” community sites. It isn’t clear whether that will continue beyond any existing contract period. It’s also not entirely clear whether the TrustedPlaces domain and brand will remain after “full integration under the Yell.com domain.” I would hope that the company doesn’t shutter the property.

____

Yell’s CEO and CFO are leaving the company. This is an appropriate time for a leadership change given the larger context of advertising in the UK around Yell and the shift more aggressively into digital.

Is the ReachLocal IPO Imminent?

May 18, 2010

I recently ran into someone from ReachLocal at a conference and asked whether the company had pulled its IPO. That had been the rumor circulating. I was told no that it was still a go.

This morning someone emailed me and asked if I was going to buy any ReachLocal stock when the IPO happened “later this week.” Beyond the fact that I don’t own any stock in any company I write about I said I hadn’t heard that the IPO was imminent. The person I was emailing said that he was being told by some friends in Wall Street firms that it was coming very soon.

Here’s the original S-1 filing from December 2009 and some interesting data about the company:

At September 30, 2009, we managed 17,600 Active Campaigns across 14,500 Active Advertisers, a substantial majority of which we calculate spend from $500 to $3,000 per month with us. Our clients include SMBs in a number of industry verticals, such as home repair and improvement, automobile sales and repair, medical and health services, legal services and retail and personal services. Since inception, we have delivered to our SMB clients more than 250 million geographically targeted clicks and 20 million phone calls. We employ 525 IMCs in North America, Australia and the United Kingdom and work with over 350 third-party agencies and resellers that use the RL Platform to serve their SMB clients. We intend to expand our IMC sales force both in existing and new markets.

We generate revenue by providing online advertising solutions for our clients through our ReachSearch, ReachDisplay, Remarketing, TotalTrack and other products and services. We reported $146.7 million in revenue in 2008 as compared to $68.4 million in 2007, an increase of 115%, and $143.3 million in revenue in the nine months ended September 30, 2009, a 37.5% increase as compared to the same period in 2008.

It will be great to have a public company as a kind of barometer (beyond the YP companies) for how the local segment is doing. However I think ReachLocal has several challenges:

  • Growing the advertiser base at rates sufficient to satisfy investors (though that’s arguably a formula that the company now has “down”)
  • Retaining advertisers (this is more challenging though Reach says its churn is lower than others)
  • Attracting and retaining quality sales staff at lower commission rates and salaries than they were making in YP positions

Public companies are subject to brutal pressure from the whims of fickle investors. The executives at Reach have worked hard and I wish them well. But I’m glad in a way that I’m not in their shoes.

Update: Joe Tartakoff at PaidContent just pointed me to confirmation that it is happening this week.

Yellowbook a Leading Android App

May 18, 2010

I was playing around in the Android Market last night and noticed that Yellowbook’s app is one of the top free apps — period. That was impressive to me.

It’s the top app in the “Shopping” category and a top 10 app (#10) among all free apps.

Even though there are still fewer Android than iPhone users, it has got to be the top mobile platform for the company.

This demonstrates that mobile can be a potentially meaningful driver of direct traffic for YP publishers.

DexOne Boosting Video Ads

May 11, 2010

Dex One put out a release that says the company is making a bigger push with video:

Dex One recently made video a standard part of its online Enhanced Pack service – thus bringing video to Enhanced Pack clients at no additional charge. This enables these clients to have video, as well as prominent ad placement, logos and other images on DexKnows.com . . .

There are no hard numbers in the release but Dex I’m sure sees video as a potential differentiator for consumer-users of DexKnows and SMB advertisers. It may also be part of a retention strategy.

The most interesting part of the release in my view is the pricing discussion:

Dex One recently made video a standard part of its online Enhanced Pack service – thus bringing video to Enhanced Pack clients at no additional charge.

Making video a line item that has to be considered separately is probably a deterrent vs. saying “step up to the enhanced pack and you get video for free.” That makes it simpler to buy and sell.

There’s a fair amount of empirical and survey based evidence of video’s effectiveness and appeal but I’m wondering if anyone has direct experience as a SMB advertiser or on behalf of a client.

Tomorrow: Evolution of the YP Product

May 10, 2010

Why did AT&T shift away from a brand (“yellowpages.com”) that the company paid handsomely for ($100M?) several years ago? What types of “vertical” content is the company building into its consumer sites?

These and many other questions I will endeavor to explore tomorrow on a free webinar called The Evolution of Local Discovery.”

Join me, Greg Isaacs and Todd Rose from AT&T Interactive for a discussion of the evolution of the yellow pages. I’ll be providing data and commentary on the market in general and AT&T will discuss YP.com and Buzz and some of its thinking behind where the company is going with its consumer offering. AT&T is moving with the market and trying to diversify traffic sources and consumer offerings. It’s fascinating to watch.

If you’d like to hear more and ask questions, listen in on the free session (and get my slides) — tomorrow at 1 Eastern, 10 Pacific.

SMBs Need a Lot of Help Online

May 10, 2010

I attended The [California] Governor’s Conference on Small Business and Entrepreneurship last thursday at the Oakland Convention Center. One of the sessions I sat in on was about social media and online marketing. It was the mirror of an identical session in the morning that I was unable to attend.

The panelists included representatives from Google, Yelp, Twitter (where I got the sticker), Cafe Press and the California Restaurants Assn. Each panelist got to talk for about 5-10 minutes and then there was a Q&A session.

While there was some sophistication, the Q&A session revealed just how much help most SMBs need. Yelp’s Vince Sollitto, who was on both panels, said that the earlier session had a higher level of sophistication and greater engagement.

I took a lot of notes but I’ll summarize and provide a few observations.

More people in the room had a facebook page than were AdWords advertisers. But about 3/4 of those in the audience were on LinkedIn.

Google’s Claire Johnson spoke repeatedly about claiming listings on Places and about search marketing. It became clear however that most of these folks were very far away from search marketing.

Most of those in the audience were familiar with and used Yelp as consumers, but only a few had used the business tools. Yelp’s Sollitto said Yelp had 31 million uniques and 10 million reviews. He addressed the issue of negative reviews by saying, “negative reviews are an authenticator” and provide credibility — ironically. Not sure if those in the audience bought the argument. When he cited the URL, biz.yelp.com, however, lots of people wrote it down.

Francesca Helina of Twitter talked about tweeting “on the go” and discussed Twitter apps as the best and most convenient way to tweet. She hinted at a number of services for SMBs to come and discussed Twitter’s window sticker. She briefly mentioned Promoted Tweets, but focused on the free service. She referenced two accounts (@smallbiz and @Francesca) where marketing on Twitter and best practices would be showcased.

John Goddard of the California Restaurant Assn said that 73% of CA restaurants were independent. He talked about how many have adopted social media and Twitter in particular. “A lot of chefs are blogging” and building social media strategies around their blogs, said Goddard.

I was somewhat surprised to see how many in the audience were using Google alerts (roughly 1/3) as a basic form of reputation management and review monitoring.

Café press extolled the virtues of search marketing saying “30% of our business from Google search.”

The moderator, a woman from Palo Alto Software, threw around tips and jargon that were generally way over the heads (from my perspective) of the audience. Indeed, most of the discussion from the podium was more advanced than the people in the room — sometimes painfully so.

This is an extreme example, but one woman asked for advice on what types of content would make her website (which she hadn’t developed yet) interesting. This reflected to me the very basic level of understanding — or lack thereof — of online marketing possessed by some small businesses.

One older woman, selling Japanese medicinal herbs, talked about her frustrations with consultants who made big promises about SEO and high rankings (There’s a ton of that going on out there.)

I conduct surveys of SMBs and talk about their issues frequently in the abstract. But it’s very helpful to be in a room like this from time to time to see the challenges they confront in a very direct way. For them the world is only getting more complicated and, while there is growing awareness and sophistication in some quarters, the smallest SMBs need a lot of help — a lot.

___

Related: Google offers a co-branded (with the SBA) site/tutorial on online business marketing fundamentals.

American Towns: ‘Fastest Growing’ Hyperlocal

May 10, 2010

Last week AmericanTowns.com put out a press release that asserted the company was the “fastest growing hyperlocal digital media company in America”:

  • Having achieved profitability at the end of 2009, AmericanTowns reported that revenues grew an additional 35 % during Q1.
  • According to Quantcast, AmericanTowns ranked in the top 800 websites in the US in Q1, and one third of its traffic was from “regular users.”
  • Revenues continue to be driven by local advertisers seeking local customers, at over 75% of advertising revenues.

The release also promotes a partnership with non-profit “Meals on Wheels.” Here’s the quote:

AmericanTowns is our second largest source of web traffic, second only to Google for referral visits,” explained Michael Flynn, Director of MOWAA.

AmericanTowns is a slow and steady network that doesn’t get lots of attention but has been gaining and growing largely “under the radar.” It would make a good acquisition for a newspaper publisher or other local media player (or online player). For example if Local.com were sitting on a mountain of cash it would make sense for them to acquire the company.

Yahoo could also probably do some interesting things with the network. And AOL might be a logical acquirer. Then of course there are the yellow pages publishers . . .

Citysearch Plans Reputation Mgmt Offering

May 10, 2010

Kate Kaye of ClickZ interviews Citysearch’s Neal Salvage about CityGrid and the general SMB ad offering from Citysearch. From my point of view, here are the interesting parts of the article:

According to Neil Salvage, Citysearch’s EVP of advertising, the ultimate goal is to reduce the number or offerings and sell them on a flat-fee basis rather than a performance-basis . . .

Citysearch currently allows advertisers to update their company profiles displayed across the Web through the platform associated with its CityGrid listings distribution system. They can also respond to reviews posted about their businesses using the platform.

“In the next quarter, we will be expanding our capabilities to offer merchants even more robust reputation management capabilities such as reviewing reviews from across CityGrid, sentiment analysis and more,” explained Salvage.

The SMB online ad market is bifurcating somewhat, with a movement toward performance products in some quarters — Yelp just (re)introduced CPC — and fixed fee products otherwise (Citysearch). The group buying sites arguably represent the ultimate in performance-based marketing for SMBs.

Beyond this, some version of “reputation management” (an elastic category) is coming to most if not all SMB ad sellers/channels. It will ultimately be like SEO, just a part of the package.

Right now the most developed product is the one offered by Marchex. However AmIVisible (presence), Chatmeter and ClickFuel also have offerings with varying degrees of functionality.

If there are others out there, please let me know.

Webinar Tues: ‘Evolution of Local Discovery’

May 8, 2010

Through Internet2Go, I’ll be doing a webinar with AT&T Interactive on the “Evolution of Local Discovery.” It’s an expanded yet more intimate version of the session we did at AD:TECH a few weeks ago.

I’ll be trying to put together the big picture and talking about the movement from print to online to mobile. I’ll also be discussing some of the new LBS services and the “geotagging of everything.”

The webinar is free at will take place at 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific on Tuesday, May 11.

For more information or to register go here.

Yell Upgrades Maps, Introduces Streetcam

May 7, 2010

UK directory publisher Yell has implemented a number of changes to its site, the most significant of which include new 3D maps and street-level photography. Yell worked with companies C3 and Tridoo to generate the imagery.

Right now the coverage includes London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. Like Google Street View, you can “walk down the street.” It’s enormously useful for tourists and travelers, as well as house hunters, etc.

Here’s Google, first:

Now Yell, which offers a combination of street-level images with Bing style aerial and 3D views:

Of course Bing doesn’t offer this yet in the UK. And Big G doesn’t have the oblique and orthogonal images from above.  

These new maps really transform Yell.com and pose the first real challenge to Google Maps in the UK. Overall it appears to be a terrific user experience that adds huge value to Yell.

Separately Yell has also introduced a video channel:

The introduction of a separate Yell.com video channel that will enable businesses to showcase their business in video for inclusion in our listings. Coverage is limited at first, with the majority of videos in central London. However, we have enabled businesses to upload videos for free and we will be taking steps to further promote video as a valuable part of the marketing mix for all SMEs.

Finally, they’ve introduced what they’re calling “Shortlists” (essentially favorites) to “enable consumers to create a list of favourite businesses that can be shared by e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. In addition, it will now be possible for much wider viral sharing of any video or site page, including business listing, search results, map view.”

I have written, about AlikeList, Fablistic and CityVoter in the past, that such “top lists” and favorites are extremely useful to people and create an additional source of qualitative ranking data about businesses beyond reviews.

Yell has had many redesigns and upgrades in the past few years but this both simplifies and enriches the user experience. Overall it dramatically boosts the utility of the site.

DexOne, YPG Announce Q1 Results

May 6, 2010

Both publishers posted Q1 2010 results today. Revenues and earnings were down in both cases, although YPG fared better.

YPG:

For the quarter ending March 31, 2010, consolidated net earnings were $121.8 million compared with $132.1 million for the same period in 2009. Income from operations was $166.8 million versus $185.7 million last year. Cash flow from operating activities reached $143.5 million during the quarter as compared to $197.4 million in 2009.

Consolidated Adjusted Revenues and revenues, at $408.1 million, decreased by approximately 1% and $0.2 million respectively from last year. Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA was $219.8 million, down from $225.9 million twelve months ago. EBITDA (income from operations before depreciation and amortization, and acquisition-related costs) was $216.1 million compared to $223.9 million in 2009. EBITDA on a reported basis is net of non-recurring rebranding and conversion costs aggregating $3.7 million in the first quarter of 2010 . . .

Combined online revenues for Directories and Vertical Media reached $98.4 million for the quarter or $393.6 million on an annualized basis, representing online organic growth of 20%.

If I’m doing the math right, online revenues were 24% of overall.

DexOne (formerly RHD) “a leading provider of marketing solutions for local businesses”:

New accounting rules/procedures make the results apparently anomalous. But here are some excerpts from the release:

“First quarter ad sales declined 19 percent largely reflecting selling activity during the third and fourth quarters of 2009. Recent sales campaigns are generating sequential improvements in ad sales trends, which we expect to continue throughout the remainder of 2010 . . .”

Dex One is affirming full year 2010 guidance originally provided on March 4, 2010:

– Year over year decline in advertising sales of between 12 percent and 15 percent.

– Combined adjusted net revenue(1,2) of approximately $1.8 billion and net revenue of approximately $0.9 billion.

– Combined adjusted EBITDA(1,2,3) of approximately $750 million and operating loss of approximately $100 million.

– Combined adjusted free cash flow(1,2,3) of approximately $450 million and cash flow from operations of approximately $400 million.

Again: “Year over year decline in advertising sales of between 12 percent and 15 percent.”

To what extent is this a benchmark for the rest of the industry?

YPG Mobile App Sees 1 Million Installs

May 6, 2010

Canada’s Yellow Pages Group announced that it had passed 1 million downloads of its smartphone application:

Yellow Pages Group (YPG) marked a key milestone in its accelerated digital transformation as it delivered its quarterly results today. On the heels of a new brand identity, a heightened focus on digital innovation and recent upgrade of its YellowPages.ca mobile application, the Company announced the YellowPages.ca mobile app has achieved its first million downloads on smart phones . . .

Beyond the million users of the YellowPages.ca app, YPG also serves hundreds of thousands of people through its other mobile apps including Urbanizer (mood-based local search) and RedFlagDeals (coupons and offers), as well as through its mobile web service at mobile.yp.ca for mobile users without a smart phone.

Local.com Adds Newsday to Publisher Network

May 6, 2010

Local.com has added Newsday to the network of publishers that use its white-label directory product:

Local.com’s private label local search platform, to power the search directory for its widely known flagship local news and information site, www.newsday.com. Local.com will also power the directories for two of the company’s other local properties, Explore Long Island (www.exploreli.com) and Get Local Long Island (www.getlocalli.com).

The press release boilerplate copy says there are 800 partner sites for Local Connect:

[Local.com] uses patented and proprietary technologies to provide over 20 million consumers each month with relevant search results for local businesses, products and services on Local.com and over 800 partner sites. Over 50,000 small business customers use Local.com products and services to reach consumers using a variety of subscription, performance and display advertising and website products.

That network is arguably Local.com’s most valuable asset. It’s not clear to me that the company is building any “brand equity” in its destination site, although according to Compete it has very respectable traffic:

Yelp Says ‘Bonjour’ to French Market

May 5, 2010

BON-jour! Yelp is now available en Francais. Yelp.fr is the first non-English-language site for the company. The press release also says that “Yelp users everywhere will have the option to view Yelp’s interface in French or English, as well as write and access reviews in these supported languages via a link at the bottom of any business listing.”

Also:

The launch of Yelp France underscores the site’s increased effort towards broader availability in Europe. In April 2010, one million unique visitors consulted Yelp UK and Yelp Ireland, with the vast majority of that traffic coming from London. Reaching one million unique visitors after 16 months is an even faster growth rate than Yelp experienced in its first U.S. market of San Francisco and a strong indicator that Yelp is poised to gain the same type of traction in Europe.

Part of the $100 million from Elevation Partners was toward additional international expansion. Germany would be a logical next non-English European country. And in Asia I would imagine Japan would be first.

Yahoo! Taps DexOne’s Biz.com for B2B Exposure

May 5, 2010

Yahoo! has joined Citysearch in utilizing DexOne’s (formerly RH Donnelley) Business.com site for B2B exposure and distribution:

Hot on the heels of a recent agreement with Citysearch Dex One’s Business.com subsidiary has inked a deal with Yahoo! to help businesses achieve greater online exposure.

Yahoo! advertisers now have the opportunity to have their paid search ads appear on select sites within the extensive Business.com Network, providing them with expanded opportunities to reach online customers.  Simultaneously, users who search on Business.com Network sites now have additional results to choose from, thereby helping them find more products, services and businesses that best suit their needs.

Business.com claims 40 million uniques for its ad network, which contains a range of B2B sites such as Financial Times and AllBusiness.com. There’s some very targeted vertical exposure in these impressions/clicks.

Google’s UI Refresh & Local Filters

May 5, 2010

There are already lots of posts and articles discussing the update to Google’s UI this morning. Preceded somewhat by the old Ask 3D, and more directly by Yahoo! and Bing, Google is promoting a three-column format with various filters (search options) on the left.

There are a dizzying array of options and tools there (previously text, now expanded and mostly graphical). Most of this is “power user” stuff. It comes out of “Universal Search” and is a successor strategy in a way to the blended organic content Google has been displaying in the body of search results. To my knowledge all that remains as it has been and won’t change.

Danny Sullivan at SEL has a very complete discussion and roundup of all the new features. I’ve done a quick write up of the mobile version of all this at Internet2Go.

To illustrate the new look, here’s the query “solar energy” before and after (I’m not seeing it yet so I borrowed Brad Stone’s/NYT’s graphic):

But what about local? What are the local features here worth noting? Most prominently you can filter by “Maps.” Because I can’t see it yet on any of my machines, I’ll have to speculate that it simply takes you quickly into Local/Maps.

There’s also the existing ability to sort by “nearby,” based on IP address or you can specify a custom location alternatively. Those have been part of the “search options” for a few months.

However I just noticed a “social” filter, which has probably been there too. I just hadn’t noticed it. This is what my options look like for the query “sushi” (new UI not yet live for me):

Danny Sullivan mentioned that there was also supposed to be a “reviews” filter (which is not exclusively local of course). It had existed previously, but apparently “didn’t make the cut.”

If you sort by “shopping” you’ll eventually be able to get to local product inventory information. It currently exists in mobile for a small number of large retailers and will be coming to the PC.

Some time ago Google changed the name of Maps to Local and back to Maps, citing consumer confusion over the idea of “Local.” However in mobile there’s a “Local” tab, which people “get.” In a way it would be better to have a Local icon/filter than a Maps icon. You could still have the maps icon at the top of the page. Local represents a broader sent of consumer intentions and use cases than Maps. However it would be problematic perhaps for Google to develop a new local filter.

Local is really a “horizontal vertical” — a more “narrow” category than general search that also happens to be broader than any other vertical, because it contains most other verticals. How to best reflect and represent this in this new set of UI changes and filters is both a daunting challenge and right now something of a missed opportunity.

MerchantCircle Releases API

May 5, 2010

MerchantCircle has released an API, which allows third parties to incorporate or build on top of the company’s content and listings:

  • Over 2 million pieces of unique, merchant-generated content such as blog postings, videos, and pictures.
  • Over 650,000 local business reviews contributed by local consumers
  • Over 350,000 current, local deals and coupons created by local businesses
  • Over 80,000 questions and 100,000 Answers from the MerchantCircle Answers Program

Companies that will be utilizing this include Citysearch/CityGrid, FootFeed.com, HelloMetro, 8coupons and Locomatix.

Between MerchantCircle, Facebook, Twitter, CityGrid, Foursquare and other local APIs in the market, the amount of local content available is exploding. There’s also a ton of valuable local content locked up in Yahoo! Answers right now too.

It used to be that there was a shortage of local data and reviews, now we’re almost approaching the opposite problem. Now the challenge becomes de-duping, integrating and elegantly presenting this via the PC and mobile devices.

We’re in a new era in local for sure.

AT&T Joins CityGrid

May 5, 2010

AT&T’s YP.com has joined the CityGrid network. (There was already a traffic deal between Citysearch and YP.com.) The NY Times uses that announcement to discuss Citysearch and its CityGrid strategy. Here are some interesting bits from the piece:

  • CityGrid now has 150 publisher sites: “Citysearch’s 18 million business listings and ads from 700,000 small businesses show up on 150 Web sites.”
  • Citysearch traffic has been declining: “Over the last year, the number of people logging on to Citysearch each month has fallen 24 percent, to 21 million.”
  • Citysearch has 200 ad sales people (Yelp is trying to grow to roughly 400 with its recent investment round.)

CityGrid was in development for some time — maybe years — and it’s a brilliant idea. However it was also something that the market was desperate for: a high-quality source of local traffic and monetization and alternative to Google (both “.com” and AdSense). Publishers, however, don’t have choose between CityGrid and AdSense; both can be used — as InsiderPages does.

Where.com and LocalAdXchange offer local ad networks/exchanges predominantly (though not exclusively) in mobile. ReachLocal also started a local ad exchange but I’ve heard nothing about it for many months. There are also other local-specific ad networks in mobile, such as Verve and LSN.

The yellow pages, because of their own inter-industry competition, missed the opportunity to come together and build this service themselves.

The key here is not the content or advertisers or the platform (though all are important) so much as it is the vision behind CityGrid and the willingness to “flip the model.”

Angie’s List Now Doing TV Spots

May 3, 2010

In all the hype and frenzy around LBS and shiny new things, I often forget to mention Angie’s List. People from time to time mention to me that they’ve heard a commercial on the radio or, now, seen TV commercials for Angie’s List. As one of the few subscription-based models in Local the site defies the conventional wisdom.

Yet each time I’ve spoken the Angie Hicks or representatives of Angie’s List they’ve told me that the site continues to grow and that subscriber retention is very high.

Anyone have a sense (empirically or anecdotally) about how they’re doing?


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