AT&T’s Big Local Opportunity

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YellowPages.com (through AT&T) has perhaps more assets than any other single player in the market when it comes to local search: a strong online local search brand, mobile assets with Cingular/AT&T wireless, a free DA service (1-800-YellowPages) and, coming soon, IPTV. The directory division also has a local sales force, which is growing in non-print yellow pages markets.

The only other company that approaches this is Comcast, which hasn’t fully committed to local (and may not).

There was some discussion when I was at The Kelsey Group about whether “yellow pages” as a general brand was broad enough to encompass an expanding local product definition (online) and could appeal to the Internet generation.

When I spoke with YellowPages.com CMO Matt Crowley yesterday he emphasized to me that YellowPages.com was going to become a platform agnostic brand associated with local content.

I believe that “YellowPages.com” as a brand is elastic enough to capture usage and to grow with the evolving product definition (i.e., to include user-generated content and perhaps classifieds and products). And AT&T has the dollars and marketing muscle to juice usage.

The challenge for these folks is bringing the assets of this corporate behemoth (AT&T) to bear on local and then executing effectively. Fortunately for YellowPages.com they’ve just hired a VP of consumer experience, Janice Rohn. The consumer experience is going to be critical across all these platforms.

That will make or break YellowPages.com as it strives to become a local search powerhaus.


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