Archive for August, 2012

Register Today for the IAB and Local Search Association’s Local Committee Meeting

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Please join us for the next Local Committee Meeting on September 5, 2012 from 3:30-5:30pm ET at IAB’s New York office (116 East 27th Street, 7th Floor). A small networking event will follow from 5:30-6:30 pm.

At the event, IAB and the Local Search Association will release a whitepaper on the Co-Op opportunity for digital advertisers, created by the Altimeter Group and commissioned by our organizations. We’ll discuss the state of Co-Op advertising in digital as well as learn about the process of tapping into Co-Op dollars.

While in-person and remote options will be available for the meeting, we encourage those who can to attend in person! To RSVP for the committee meeting, please register here.

Will Mobile Overtake Desktop for Local Restaurant Search?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I read an interesting post from Sherwood Stranieri over at Search Engine Land this week on mobile local search. Recent findings point to a rapidly increasing number of mobile searches in the restaurant category and it looks like mobile search may surpass desktop search in this category very soon.

In the last few months, there’s increasing evidence that mobile search activity for restaurants is growing by leaps and bounds. Consider the following:

  • Yelp recently shared that mobile usage now accounts for 40% of their activity, up from 27% in 2010.
  • According Groupon’s CEO, 30% of all transactions on Groupon’s platform are now attributed to mobile device use, and those usage levels have tripled in just one year.

Given these trends, it’s very likely that we’ll see restaurant search hit the tipping point in the next 12 months, with more mobile-based activity than desktop-based.

As you’ll recall from earlier this summer, YP, in their quarterly Local Insights Report, also found that the restaurant category was the most searched on mobile.

Take a look at Sherwood’s full article for more on mobile search and tips on how restaurants can get prepared to stay ahead of the curve.

Register Now for BIA/Kelsey’s SMB Digital Marketing 2012 Conference

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We’re just several weeks away from BIA/Kelsey’s highly anticipated SMB Digital Marketing Conference 2012, taking place Sept. 17-19 at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago.

This annual event, which brings together innovators, influencers, and inventors in the digital marking place, will focus on small and medium sized businesses’ increased investment in the space and their greater appetite for ROI-based strategies. Specific topics will include local sales strategies, merchant outreach, SMB engagement and promotions, local search, social media, mobile strategies and technology innovation.

The jam-packed three-day agenda will feature a variety of exciting speakers, including:

  • Alfred Mockett, CEO, Dex One
  • Bob Sanders, President & CEO, Axiom
  • Court Cunningham, CEO, Yodle
  • Ben Wood, Head of Channel Sales Partnerships Americas, Google
  • Fred Huang, Manager, Partner Relations, Facebook
  • Anthony Bratti, SVP – Business Development, vSplash
  • John Busby, VP, Marchex Institute
  • Barnell Holloway, Manager, Local Business Outreach, Yelp
  • Sanjay Gupta, VP, Global Merchant Marketing, Groupon

Visit the conference website and register today! I look forward to seeing many of you in Chicago. For those who cannot attend, stay tuned to Local Search Insider for live coverage of the event.

Planning a Party?: Google+ Adds Events

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I’m excited to introduce Will Scott, CEO of Search Influence, a national online marketing firm focused on small and medium sized businesses and white label online marketing for publishers and media partners who serve them. Search Influence is the largest online marketing firmon the Gulf Coast and New Orleans’ only Inc. 500 honoree in 2011.

In today’s post, Will overviews the new Google+ event feature and the advantages that Google’s integration possibilities present for social media marketing.

I saw the most interesting thing when I logged into Google + the other day.

It appears the latest feature to launch from the Google+ Product team is “Events”. One hates to continually compare to Facebook, but this is yet another feature where Facebook has traditionally led other social media sites.

We have seen clients use Facebook Events to great effect as an RSVP mechanism for offline events. But Google+ Events is a compelling alternative because of it’s interesting integrations with other Google products.

Like other event schedulers, Google+ Events allows you to set a time and place and invite your friends. Google+ Events also displays events, similar to Gmail integration, within the context of your existing calendar items.

Notice how when I view a full day on my calendar, the tool shows the time slots available for an event.

So what else can you do with Google+ Events? You can share events with your circles, or individual friends, or any combination.

Plus, you can schedule a Hangout, or an “on air” Hangout.

“On Air” Hangouts is the new feature that allows you to broadcast your hangout publicly.

Additionally, Google+ seems to have addressed some early challenges, such as the ability to mass-post event invitations.

With Google+ Events, Google is adding a very interesting feature set. Google’s ability to seamlessly integrate Google+ with all  other products may be the secret sauce necessary to start to put a dent in Facebook’s heretofore impenetrable armor.

Additionally, with the ability to drive +1s through AdWords, G+ may be a useful advertising tool in local businesses’ arsenal..

Still a long way from the ubiquity of Facebook, Google+’s live video-chat, Hangouts feature and integration with Google Calendar provide the social network with a unique advantage.

 

Dex One and SuperMedia Announce Plans to Merge; New Company Will Be Named Dex Media

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This morning, Dex One and SuperMedia announced that their Boards of Directors have approved plans to merge the two companies, creating a national provider of social, local and mobile solutions through direct relationships with local businesses. Once the transaction is completed, the new company will be named Dex Media.

This is an exciting announcement for our industry. The combined company, which will include an impressive 3,100 local advertising consultants and maintain more than 700,000 local business relationships, is an important and inevitable outcome of today’s changing local search landscape.

At this time of significant fragmentation in local media, the new Dex Media will be a stronger company that is better positioned to transform its business model to take advantage of new digital and social opportunities. Through its national scale, the company will have greater ability to expand distribution and increase market share.

The cost savings achieved through the combination of Dex and SuperMedia will create a more economically sustainable business. The ability of the new company to achieve financial flexibility is vital. In doing so, it will be able to invest in innovative new marketing solutions that will have a positive impact on its mission: to better enable local businesses and consumers to find one another and complete transactions.

In the end, however, the proof will be in the pudding. The merger will require strategic thinking and tough decisions, and the new company’s ability to execute on its vision will determine whether it will achieve success in a crowded marketplace. I have strong confidence in the designated management team, Alan Schultz and Peter McDonald, and their abilities to navigate the challenges ahead.

I also want to recognize Alfred Mockett, Dex One’s CEO, who will step down at the close of this transaction. Alfred is a great leader who has played a key role in helping Dex One reach this milestone.

Congratulations to everyone at Dex One and SuperMedia. We look forward to seeing what you will achieve together.

Positive Development in Effort to Protect Yellow Pages Delivery in San Francisco

Monday, August 20, 2012

Last week, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order related to our lawsuit against the City of San Francisco to overturn its controversial new law, which effectively bans the distribution of Yellow Pages.

The federal appeals court summarily reversed a decision of the lower U.S. District Court in San Francisco that had denied the Local Search Association’s request for a preliminary injunction against San Francisco’s Yellow Pages ordinance.

The Local Search Association had asked the U.S. District Court to halt the implementation of San Francisco’s ordinance until Yellow Pages’ publishers concerns could be heard. However, because the City of San Francisco committed to not enforce its ordinance until the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on the Local Search Association’s appeal in the Seattle case, the U.S. District Court refused to grant an injunction against the San Francisco ordinance.

The Court of Appeals’ order means that the lower court is now required to decide whether the San Francisco ordinance likely violates the First Amendment rights of Yellow Pages publishers without waiting for a decision in the Seattle case – which is expected any day.

We continue to look forward to what we anticipate will be positive outcomes in both San Francisco and Seattle. As we’ve said previously, our advertisers in these markets depend on Yellow Pages advertising to generate business, and residents rely on phone directories to help them find and shop from local businesses. Yellow Pages publishers need decisions in both the San Francisco and Seattle cases in order to do their jobs of supporting local businesses, as well as their own employees.

While the cases in San Francisco and Seattle continue, we are successfully working with numerous municipalities to address concerns about Yellow Pages distribution by highlighting the benefits of our sustainability programs. In California alone, we’ve recently partnered with legislators in Fremont, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, San Leandro, Alameda and Hayward to raise awareness about our consumer choice website, www.YellowPagesOptOut.com. We continue to believe that our programs achieve better outcomes than legislation that limits Yellow Pages delivery, which inhibits the ability of local businesses and consumers to find one another.

Google Buys Frommer’s in Latest Deal for Original Local Content

Monday, August 20, 2012

Google continued to build up its original local content portfolio last week with the acquisition of Frommer’s, the popular travel guide brand from John Wiley & Sons.

The deal will give Google new weight as it competes with local search sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Citysearch for travel-related content and associated ad revenue.

It also represents a shift in Google’s approach from a media company that showcases others’ content, to one that also produces information as well. Last year, Google acquired Zagat and by this summer had fully integrated the restaurant ratings site into its Google+ Local platform.

I look forward to seeing how Google leverages Frommer’s into its travel offerings!

Check out BIA/Kelsey’s SMB Digital Marketing 2012 Conference – September 17-19, Chicago

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Next month in Chicago, BIA/Kelsey will be hosting its annual conference for innovators, influencers, and investors in the digital marketing space. The SMB Digital Marketing 2012 conference will focus on small and medium sized businesses’ increased investment in digital marketing and their greater appetite for ROI-based strategies.

Leaders from local search and social media will be discussing what the changing landscape means for firms in those spaces.

Head over to BIA/Kelsey for a full agenda and list of speakers.

 

SMB Digital Marketing 2012
September 17 – 19, 2012
Chicago
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

 

I’ll be there and will be blogging from the event, hope you’ll be joining the Local Search team in Chicago!

Will the New Yahoo CEO Focus on Local Businesses?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In my Local Search column on Search Engine Land this month, I discuss Yahoo’s recent appointment of Marissa Mayer as its new president and CEO, and the opportunities that presents for local businesses should she decide to focus on reinventing the company’s once dominant local search platform, Yahoo! Local.

Mayer, who previously served as the Google executive in charge of local, maps and location services, lives and breathes local. She is also an expert in creating innovative user experiences in the space. I argue that if Mayer makes local a priority at Google – which still commands one of the largest audiences on the Web with 700 million monthly users – that local businesses will have yet another platform to actively consider for local advertising.

In my piece, I overview what Yahoo! Local looks like today and provide some thoughts on where Mayer might take the platform next. Click here to reach the full column.