Local Search: Jupiter vs. Borrell Smackdown

In a “he said/she said piece” Jupiter’s projections face off with Borrell’s more upbeat assessment of local search. The heart of the piece is a problem of definitions and a debate about whether local advertisers (SMBs) are getting it. Further, the numbers in the piece (a function of conflicting definitions) are incomplete/inaccurate.

Nothing new here, just a disagreement over growth rates. The reality is that SMBs — absent radical simplification (more on that later) — are coming in to online advertising through an infrastructure of third party sales channels (YPs, newspapers, webhosts, others). This is what I described in October, 2004 for The Kelsey Group. Self service is a minority use case.

National advertisers now use geotargeting and will continue to do so more aggressively, while SMBs are now working with trusted third party sales channels that simplify buying for them. That’s already happening and will increasingly develop (and extend into mobile).

The foundations and first several floors are in place. It’s just a long, slow process.

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