Boston.com is an extremely popular site in its market and recently struck an interesting deal with Google to offer local data (with some editorial intervention) via its local search portal:
The people running the Boston Globe’s Web site and city portal Boston.com, are confident local advertisers will benefit from a decision to have Google provide local business search results.
The New York Times Company-owned site, which had been using local business search results provided by Axciom and an in-house application, announced this week it was switching to Google’s platform.
“It’s giving Google distribution for AdSense and, on our side, it provides revenue from AdSense and a great platform for giving better content: well-suited ads that both we and Google can sell,” said Boston.com Search Product Manager Joel Abrams.
Boston.com said the improved business listings content “provides a foundation and framework to offer an effective and diversified range of marketing opportunities” for advertisers.
The ad opportunities include Google AdWords text ads, targeted display ads, enhanced events content and Web pages optimized for search results and lead generation, said the company.
Two things are interesting to me here:
- Google as local data provider
- The Boston.com local search site more generally
On the latter point, while this is undoubtedly not the first presentation of newspaper (and related) data in this manner it’s a model broadly speaking that more newspapers should follow. It’s imperfect but it’s a big improvement over the basic newspaper site as an entry point for local information. It “leverages” newspaper content but makes it more easily accessible:
Related: Eric Alterman writes “Out of Print: The Death and Life of the American Newspaper” in this week’s New Yorker. For those interested in the future of the industry it’s an engaging piece.
But if you think newspapers are in bad shape news weeklies are much worse off.