Publishers Looking to a ‘Post Google’ Future

The Local SEM products that YP publishers have been selling with varying degrees of success are deeply flawed in many respects — going to the way they’re sold and/or explained — and they don’t deliver the margins that publishers need. Google, Yahoo and MSFT will always be central to some “network” proposition that the YP publisher (or newspaper) offers local advertisers. But increasingly the “sales channels” are looking for alternative sources of qualified traffic.

Call it the “post Google” future, where reliance on Google as a source of traffic is not as heavy as it is today. That future requires lots of cooperation and the knitting together of many different traffic sources. Eventually the sources of traffic may become totally “opaque” to the individual advertiser — “We’ll deliver you 100 leads from our network.” As with the old Overture or the online ad networks today, publishers and traffic sources will be listed but advertisers may have little or no choice regarding where the traffic comes from.

Yodle has undertaken to build a version of this. YP publishers Idearc, RHD and, in exchanging traffic and advertisers, are moving down this path. Citysearch and Marchex have as well. and a range of others are doing a version of this too.

More of them are coming together to try and deliver quality clicks, calls and impressions without relying on buying search traffic as heavily.

More to come . . .


7 Responses to “Publishers Looking to a ‘Post Google’ Future”

  1. Tim Cohn Says:

    I just don’t see how any business built on a print dollar cost structure will ever make the leap to profitability from the digital dime model regardless of their “assets”.

  2. Tim Cohn Says:

    Clarification …leap to profitability in a digital dime cost structure…

  3. Citysearch and Idearc in Traffic Deal « Screenwerk Says:

    […] Screenwerk Greg Sterling’s Thoughts on Online and Offline Media « Publishers Looking to a ‘Post Google’ Future […]

  4. Chech Works Says:

    I think it has a lot to do with how the SEM packages are bought and sold. We are still in the infant stages of this new industry, and our ability to think creatively and implement innovative solutions will be what builds the future of the web. Making profit from it will also require a great deal of innovation in this new medium, but those who think outside the box are going to come out on top.

  5. Rich Rosen Says:

    Greg – Idearc, for one, had a shot at this when they launched Super Guarantee. I think a the flaw in the consumer-focused program is that Super Guarantee ignores the merchant. Idearc research (and experience) must indicate that merchants want a return on their advertising investment. Also, I wonder if the program hints that merchants offer sub-par service and that consumers need Idearc to step in and police their interactions with advertisers. Given this potential, why didn’t Idearc roll out a merchant focused program at the same time? I would call it “Super Accountability” It would balance the consumer guarantee, better serve the merchant and moves to a distributed, pay-for-leads model.

    • Mike Stewart Says:

      Online reviews are an excellent way to police the good the bad and the ugly without accountability. in my opinion it is a step in that vicinity.

  6. Greg Sterling Says:

    Idearc is launching some programs for merchants but nothing such as you describe. They should be doing stuff like this too:

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