Yodle announced a $10 million C round this morning (funding details covered on Techmeme and related articles). Yodle has a technology platform but is positioned more as a direct sales channel, like ReachLocal. Marchex and WebVisible are local SEM platforms that offer fulfillment and management for other sales channels (i.e., YP, newspapers).
Yodle CEO Court Cunningham is one of the most forthcoming of the executives in this segment. He had previously told me that he thought the company was on track to be profitable by Q1 2009 but the economy has set that back apparently. TechCrunch reports that the company will be profitable “within six months.” It also says the company has roughly 5,000 advertisers.
Five thousand is some kind of magic number it would appear: StepUp had about 5k advertisers when it sold to Intuit and Merchant Circle said previously it had around 5K advertisers. However ReachLocal had roughly 12K advertisers, as of Q3 last year. By contrast, YP publishers have hundreds of thousands of SMB advertisers. Google may also.
None of the SMB/local search marketing firms has broken out of the pack, partly because no one has done much visible marketing for themselves — not even YouTube videos.
Over at SEL I’ve written up some data from WebVisible-Nielsen on the gap between online consumer behavior and SMB ad spending. This is something I’ve written about many times in the past, but the data do a nice job of showcasing that gap.
Specifically: 26% of SMB survey respondents have used paid search while 82% of consumers use search engines (the #1 method) to find local businesses.
Consumer usage trends over the past two years
Source: Nielsen-WebVisible (1/08), n=4,000