Archive for August, 2011

BIA/Kelsey DMS ’11: Register Now for Discount & Chance to Win $50 AMEX Gift Card

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

BIA/Kelsey’s much-anticipated DMS ’11 is coming up in just a few weeks in Denver (Sept. 20-22), so the time to register is now! As a Local Search Association member, you receive several incentives to participate, including:

  • A discount at registration by using the code “DMS11LSA.”
  • Registered members will be eligible to win a $50 American Express gift card during the conference’s opening session on September 20. Use it to pay for a networking breakfast, or to buy your prospective client a few drinks in the hotel bar.  The DMS conference is a great opportunity for one-on-one time with your existing clients and to cultivate relationships with new ones.

This year’s conference features a long list of exciting speakers, including:

  • Fred Dimesa
    Head of Business Development, Urbanspoon
  • Rita Fabi
    Head of Market Solutions, Global Customer Marketing and Communications, Facebook
  • Ørjan Hanssen
    Product Manager, Media Products and Service, Eniro

So click here to register and don’t forget to make your hotel plans.  We’ll see you in Denver!

Publishers File Motion for Preliminary Injunction to Stop San Francisco Yellow Pages Ordinance

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Earlier today, we filed a motion for preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court to halt the implementation of the City of San Francisco’s destructive Yellow Pages law until we reach final resolution of the lawsuit we filed against the city in June.

We made the decision to move forward with this motion after considering the real, negative impact of the city’s ordinance, which would make it against the law to deliver Yellow Pages to homes or businesses without advance permission:

  • The First Amendment does not permit the city to arbitrarily restrict distribution of Yellow Pages out of a misguided belief that directories are less valuable than other publications. We don’t think the government has a place in choosing which communications can be delivered and which cannot. When put in context, the Environmental Protection Agency says that phone directories make up less than one half of one percent of municipal waste – much less than other paper-based media.
  • Thousands of San Francisco residents will be deprived of a valuable resource that links them to vital community services. This ordinance disenfranchises the nearly 30% of San Franciscans who can’t afford Internet  access and smartphones – including lower income residents, seniors and international communities – as well as those who simply prefer print directories to find local civic and business information.
  • Thousands of local businesses will be hurt by virtually eliminating one of their most effective means of advertising, forcing them to pay more for less effective results and fewer advertising options at the whim of local lawmakers.
  • Research from Burke, a premier independent research and consulting firm, shows that 71 percent of San Francisco residents used Yellow Pages directories in the past year to locate local civic and business information.

Although the ordinance’s delivery restrictions do not take effect until May 2012, publishers are suffering economic consequences now. Not only must they plan to invest in expensive methods to solicit opt-ins, but the uncertainty over the Yellow Pages circulation is deterring advertisers.

A preliminary injunction is in the public interest, not only because our First Amendment rights are at stake, but because the ordinance harms the wider community – both the local businesses that rely on sales generated by Yellow Pages ads, and the thousands of San Francisco residents who find the Yellow Pages more efficient than searching the Internet, or who lack Internet access.

Yellow Pages publishers don’t want to deliver directories to people who don’t want them.  We have stated this repeatedly to legislators, the media and consumers.  And we are backing up that statement with our opt-out site and other distribution initiatives.

We believe the decision to use the Yellow Pages, a newspaper, the Internet, or any other media should be up to the citizens of San Francisco – not the judgment of politicians.  Our motion today demonstrates our commitment to continuing to deliver our directories to San Francisco residents who use and value it.

As responsible stewards of the environment, we provided consumers nationwide with a single, easy-to- use site to stop or limit directory delivery to their homes at www.yellowpagesoptout.com.  Our association continues to work on the behalf of our members to ensure that our message is being heard in municipalities across the country.

To keep up with this and other issues, sign up for our RSS feed and find us on Facebook page and @LocalSearchAssn Twitter channel for updates.

Recent Trends Should Guide How Businesses Grow Local Search Strategies

Monday, August 22, 2011

In my Locals Only column on Search Engine Land this month, I provide an overview of the latest trends and developments in the local search space, and what local businesses should keep in mind as they start to build out their advertising strategies for 2012.

Three objectives that local businesses should consider include:

  • Taking Charge of Social Media: Today, local businesses are doing a better job of creating a presence on social networks, but they need to further expand their efforts and engage more with their followers. Businesses also need to up-to-speed with what’s next, which today is the new and fast-growing Google+.
  • Prepping for Big Mobile Changes: Last week’s announcement by Google that it’s purchasing Motorola Mobility could spell big changes for the local search industry, especially as mobile apps become a preferred source for local mobile content. Ensuring that a business is visible on as many online and mobile directories as possible—as well as the most popular apps—is increasingly key to attracting new customers.
  • Widening Online Exposure: Popular search engines and local sites are continuing to team up with Internet Yellow Pages companies to help inform and expand their online directory databases, as well as provide additional distribution opportunities. Local businesses should look for opportunities to get the most exposure for their spend by placing ad dollars where they’re guaranteed the widest range of consumers.

Read my full Search Engine Land column here.

 

How’s Your Twitter Curb Appeal?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Alan See (@AlanSee), Vice President of Marketing at Berry Network Inc., an AT&T company and Local Search Association member, returns to Local Search Insider with a guest blog on how to make a good first impression on Twitter.

Think about what first attracted you to your home.  Your initial impression as you pulled up and viewed the unique landscape and exterior architecture.  Realtors call it “curb appeal.”  First impressions are important, as we all remember this warning: “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”

In fact, psychologists, writers, and seminar leaders caution that we only have from seven to seventeen seconds of interacting with strangers before they form an opinion of us.  With so much at stake, have you considered your “Twitter curb appeal?”  What I’m talking about are the elements of your Twitter page that can be personalized in a way to make your personal brand quickly stand out.

Just consider these Twitter factoids from the folks at HubSpot:

Why are these points important?  Because when people are deciding whether to follow you on Twitter, they quickly look at your bio information, web address, picture icon, page background, location and recent updates to get a sense of who you really are.  In short, your Twitter page is an extension of your personal brand.  For that reason, you should make sure your Twitter profile supports your personal branding goals and objectives.  There are five areas of your page that you should focus on:

  1. Profile picture. Pick something that fits the personal brand you want to project. In short, if you want people to take you seriously, don’t use an unprofessional picture.  Also, consider how you might  want to extend your personal brand across other social media platforms.  In my case, I use the same profile picture for both Twitter and Facebook.  I use a more formal picture for LinkedIn.
  2. Bio information. Twitter only gives you 160 characters in this space, so think about your personal elevator pitch. Say what you need to say, but don’t be afraid to let some of your personality show through. In addition, think about keyword searches that might be run on the bio section through applications like Tweet Adder or Refollow to make sure your profile would surface.
  3. Web site URL. Think about where you would want to redirect viewers for additional information.  I use LinkedIn because it is a trusted source and recognized by most business professionals.  I would not recommend using a URL shortener for this space.  Your potential followers may not feel comfortable clicking on a link they don’t recognize, and at this point you don’t want to do anything that would discourage engagement.
  4. Location.  Some people feel uncomfortable disclosing their location.  I believe the risk is worth the reward and that you’ll increase your chances of being found during relevant searches if you display both your city and state.  Again, key applications like Tweet Adder and Refollow can leverage location information.
  5. Background.  Twitter offers several of their own backgrounds.  However; if you’re looking to make your personal brand stand out, I would recommend a customized background.

There are no mulligans or do-over’s when it comes to first impressions, so take the time to personalize your Twitter page. The extra effort shows your followers that you’re serious about your personal brand, and that encourages them to take you seriously, too.

BIA/Kelsey DMS ’11 Right Around the Corner

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer is going by so quickly, you may not realize that the BIA/Kelsey DMS ‘11 conference is just around the corner – September 20-22.

Registration rates for the event will be increasing on Saturday, August 20, so if you plan on attending, the time to book is now. Local Search Association members will receive a discount when they use confirmation code “DMS11LSA.”

The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown, so remember to register for a room and then join us at DMS ‘11.

Our president, Neg Norton, will be a speaker, and there will be lots of networking opportunities, as well as the great content we’ve come to expect from this group. Click here to view the latest agenda with highlights on the scheduled speakers and panels.

We hope to see you in Denver!

Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In a move that is rocking the mobile industry, Google announced this week that it will purchase Motorola Mobility. If approved by regulators, the move will turn Google, which develops the popular Android software now used by 2 in 5 smartphone users, into “a full-fledged cellphone manufacturer, in direct competition with Apple,” according to the New York Times.

In a post on Google’s Official Blog, CEO Larry Page said that the acquisition will not change Google’s commitment to running Android as an open platform, which is currently used by popular manufacturers including Samsung and HTC. And while many of these manufacturing partners said they supported the deal yesterday, analysts recognize that relations could sour over time as if these companies begin to view Google as more of a competitor than partner.

The deal is raising widespread speculation about the future of mobile. Will manufacturers now shy away from Android and adopt Microsoft’s mobile platform? Are Nokia and Research in Motion (BlackBerry), both struggling manufacturers with a significant number of valuable patents, next in line to be purchased?

We’ll be keeping a close eye on the fallout from the Google-Motorola deal as it relates to our business, which has increasingly leveraged the Android platform in recent years to deliver browsing- and application-based local search offerings on mobile and tablet devices. Whatever changes take place, we’re   sure our members will be quick to adapt their offerings to provide the best local search experience wherever consumers are looking.

Australia’s Sensis Is First Major Directory Publisher to Go Carbon Neutral

Monday, August 15, 2011

In a major step in our industry’s ongoing sustainability efforts, Sensis, the Australian Yellow Pages provider, announced last week that it is the first major directory publisher in the world to go carbon neutral.

Sensis received the certification from the Australian government’s NCOS Carbon Neutral Program after reducing carbon emissions across its range of technology and information services, according to an article in ProPrint. The company has made a significant investment in renewable energy, cook stoves, heat recovery and biomass projects as part of the program.

In announcing the achievement, Sensis chief executive Bruce Akhurst, “We made a commitment to take responsibility for the environmental footprint of our products voluntarily and ahead of the majority of Australian business community.” Akhurst said the company’s Yellow Pages and white pages print and online directories are now among Australia’s largest carbon neutral products.

I applaud Sensis on this great achievement, which is representative of major efforts across our industry to improve the sustainability of our products. In recent months, we’ve highlighted sustainability and consumer choice activities across major Yellow Pages companies, including SuperMedia, Yellow Pages Group, AT&T, Valley Yellow Pages, Dex One, and Yellowbook. I look forward to our continued progress on this front.

Local Search Roundup: Strong Growth Projected for Google+, Foursquare Launches Self-Serve Pages; Yellow Magic Launches YelloReader Technology

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Here’s a roundup of major stories making headlines this week in the local search space.

Google+ Projected to Become No. 2 U.S. Social Network

Google+ may grow to claim 22% of online U.S. adults in a year, passing Twitter and LinkedIn to become the second-most popular social network after Facebook, according to a new Bloomberg/YouGov survey. Already, Google is growing faster than MySpace and Facebook did in their early days. Currently Google+ has signed up 13% of U.S. adults and is forecast to add another 9% over the next year. Meanwhile, the study found that Twitter will grow about 3% to claim 20% of U.S. adults as users, while LinkedIn will gain 2%, achieving the same penetration.

Foursquare Pages Become Self-Serve

Since January 2010, Foursquare, the popular location-based social network, has worked together with brands, organizations and publications to create approximately 3,000 dedicated Pages on the site. Pages allow organizations to attract followers, share tips, check in and reach their fans. Last week, Foursquare announced that Pages can now be created and maintained “self-serve,” so information can be added and edited directly without needing to go through a Foursquare rep. CNET has a great overview on how to set up a Fourquare Page for your organization.

Yellow Magic Launches YelloReader Technology

Yellow Magic, a global supplier of software solutions for directory publishers, last week announced new YelloReader technology for Yellow Pages companies. The tool allows directory publishers to create e-book versions of their directories for consumers to access on their Barnes & Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle devices. According to its press release, the YelloReader technology formats a directory’s complete list of headings, including images and display ads. Check out the Kindle YelloReader and Nook YelloReader to see the technology for yourself.

comScore: Smartphone Subscribers Up 8%; 2 in 5 Now Use Google Android

Monday, August 8, 2011

Last week, comScore released its quarterly mobile trends report, and the findings revealed some interesting takeaways related directly to our business.

The number of U.S. smartphone subscribers – those most likely to take advantage of our industry’s mobile directories and location-based apps – continues to rise at a rapid pace. Approximately 78.5 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending June 2011, up 8% from the preceding three month period.

Google Android, the most popular smartphone platform, continues to gain market share. Today, 2 in 5 smartphone subscribers (40.1% share) use Google Android, up 5.4% from the prior reporting period. Apple strengthened its #2 position with 26.6% share of the smartphone market, up 1.1%. RIM (Blackberry) ranked third with 23.4% share, down 3.7%. Microsoft (5.8%) and Symbian (2%) rounded out the top five, both down as well.

On a related note, a new study from Jumptap, a mobile ad network, found that smartphone platform use varies by geography. The study showed that consumers with Apple’s iPhone tend to congregate in the Northwest and Midwest, while Google Android users are more likely to be found in the South and Southwest. BlackBerry is dominant in a handful of states, including New York.

With the smartphone market growing fast – and ongoing shifts taking place in the different mobile platforms consumers are using (and where they are using them) – our industry needs to remain agile, and create and adapt future offerings to take advantage of areas of growth.

As our 2011 State of Local Search study showed, there is an expanding appetite for local content among mobile subscribers, with more than 77 million mobile subscribers now access local content on their mobile devices. The time is now to build offerings that will help local business advertisers reach this significant audience wherever and however they are searching via mobile.

BIA/Kelsey DMS ’11 Fast Approaching

Thursday, August 4, 2011

If you weren’t able to join today’s BIA/Kelsey webinar, “Hot Digital Advertising and Social Media Trends for Small Business Advertiser,” you missed some very interesting data and analysis.  Trends on Facebook use, the new Google+, concerns about metrics – great stuff!

But don’t worry — you’ll have another chance to catch up on the latest news and trends in our industry at BIA/Kelsey’s upcoming event, DMS ’11: The Summit for Small-Business Advertising Solutions, in Denver, September 20-22.

The BIA/Kelsey team always delivers with great speakers, lively panels and the most up-to-date research.

Or as they put it:

“At DMS ’11: The Summit for Small-Business Advertising Solutions, we will bring together innovators and thought leaders to help us break down the components of modern SMB marketing and analyze where the biggest opportunities are for players in the local, social, mobile ecosystem. This event will be of critical importance to companies involved in directory publishing, local search, coupons, group buying, newspapers, location-based services, social media and more.”

To join us, click here to learn more and register.

Hope to see you in Denver!