Google: ‘Seven Figures’ Have Used the LBC

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Danny Sullivan and I were taking a briefing from Google about a forthcoming Maps announcement and Google’s John Hanke made a relatively casual statement (I’m paraphrasing) in the course of our discussion that the number of local businesses that had interacted with Google’s Local Business Center was in the “low seven figures.”

We didn’t get into lots of specifics about what was being done (e.g., correcting information, uploading or enhancing information). But I have no reason to doubt Hanke or think he was making an exaggerated statement.

This means, assuming I heard him correctly, that at least 1 million businesses had touched/visited/added information through the LBC. That’s more than the estimated total number of Google advertisers today and that’s more than four times MerchantCircle’s much touted 250K SMBs. It’s also more than the total advertisers of any single US yellow pages provider with the exception of AT&T.

Now there’s some distance between interacting with an online form and becoming a full-fledged advertiser (or an effective advertiser as the comment below suggests). And arguably Google doesn’t have the right mix of ad products yet for SMBs. What it needs is a product that features a credit card field and a monthly budget field (with some predictive information about traffic): no keywords, no bidding, etc.

To me this information casts some doubt on the conventional wisdom that advertisers won’t self provision. Indeed, it’s a massive sales channel opportunity for Google that the company basically doesn’t fully exploit.


19 Responses to “Google: ‘Seven Figures’ Have Used the LBC”

  1. Rich Hargrave Says:

    “…this information casts some doubt on the conventional wisdom that advertisers won’t self provision”. I suspect that the online tools currenly offered will continue to evolve, driving more to self-provision. The question is; self-provision what? There’s a big difference between editing your business information/data, and launching an effective advertising campaign.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Agree that’s why I made a similar comment in my post. But the sheer volume is surprising. That’s why I’m exposing it.

  3. AhmedF Says:

    That is quite the number – color me impressed.

  4. Searchquant Says:

    Because so much web traffic comes via local ISPs, I’ll bet that figure refers to UV’s and nothing else. There’s potentially a big difference between 1M UV’s and 1M SMBs.

  5. Greg Cannon Says:

    >That’s more than the estimated total number of Google advertisers

    Really? What are the estimates for # of advertisers? I would have thought it was far higher than 1 million.

  6. cohn Says:

    I thought there were only 1.2 million yellow pages display advertisers in the US.

  7. cohn Says:

    Also, Congratulations on your new Editor post.

  8. Beep beep iBegin Source - Tech Soapbox Says:

    […] dash – I’m off to San Francisco now and won’t be back until Sunday. In the mean time, be impressed by Google having had over 1 million business owners verify their listings. I am curious – is that US/Canada only or does it include UK/Germany/etc? […]

  9. Greg Sterling Says:

    In terms of Tim’s “display advertisers” comment . . . that may be true if we define “display” as 1/4 page or more. However, estimates are that there are about 3 million total “advertisers” (defined as anyone spending any money). It’s gone down from 3.2 a couple of years ago and 3.5 before that. The rate of decline is a question.

  10. cohn Says:

    Thanks. Yellow Pages have lost 15% of their base / 500,000 advertisers in roughly 5 years?

  11. Greg Sterling Says:

    It’s not clear whether the numbers I’m citing are entirely reliable. In roughly May of last year a YP industry insider said the number was 3.2. Assuming these estimates are correct that would be 200K advertisers lost in roughly a year or so. But the question is which advertisers are being lost. If it’s folks that spend little it’s not huge but if it’s larger spending advertisers then it’s a bigger deal. This article ( says that Superpages lost roughly 3% in print revenues in Q3 but gained on the online side (though not enough to offset print losses).

  12. Dan Hobin Says:

    Greg.. do yo have any (or have you seen any) recent numbers on the # (%) of people who actually click through on the map (one box map in main serp) to Google Maps in local search queries?

  13. Greg Sterling Says:

    I have not seen what the click through rates are. Here’s a non helpful answer (more, but not always):

    Also ask Mike Blumenthal:

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  18. saiinfo123 Says:

    Very nice blog and share with us …..
    Local Business Information Center

  19. saiinfo Says:

    That is quite the number – color me impressed.
    Local Business Information Center

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