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Mar 24 2006
Google Adding Graphical Ads to Maps
A few weeks ago at SES, Google told me they were going to be allowing advertisers to add logos and graphical images to the mapping balloons that appear on Google Local. I looked for them but couldn't find them. Today, apparently, they started appearing. This blog has a screenshot. I was unable to find this ad (or other similar ads) on my own.

My understanding is that this doesn't cost anything beyond the keyword bid; it's a kind of a perk to marketers. (It's also an enticement to advertise.) Yahoo! has been doing a version of this for a long time, although the branding is not presented the same way.

This is really just the beginning. AdMission Corp. has a directories module (like a mapping balloon) that can host photos, chat, e-commerce, e-mail forms, even video. I would expect to see all those options and PPCall or click-to-call functionality integrated into these mapping balloons over time.

Just wait.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  17:19 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [2]

Mar 24 2006
Mobile Advertising: Much Still Needs to Be Done
There's an incredible amount of hype and anticipation among marketers and the mobile industry in general around ad revenue projections and the anticipated size of the mobile TV/video market. This mostly bullish BusinessWeek article does a nice job of assessing the state of mobile marketing.

But, in reality, mobile is still years away. Most people don't want to pay for video (notwithstanding Apple's success to date) and don't even want advertising on their cellphones. Until the user experience is worked out, there isn't going to be massive mainstream usage of mobile for much more than voice and SMS.

That's not to say there isn't money to be made and users are totally immune to advertising on their mobile phones. But it must be presented to them in ways that are relevant, offer value, and are consistent with their needs and interests. Again, this goes to the overall user experience.

I'll be very curious what the panelists on the "Mobile Ads That Work Today" panel (3/28 at Drilling Down) have to say about their models, their learnings and their projections.


Related: Miva conducted a test involving 500 mobile phone users in the UK with "pay-per-text" ads on SMS/text messages. The test was in conjunction with Britain's leading directory assistance service, 118 118. Callers to the service who opted to receive the desired number via text also saw a contextually relevant ad as part of the message (after the desired number). Here are the (relatively impressive) results:

  • Nearly 60% of respondents who were sent the message recalled it, and 14% of these people used the additional number.
  • 93% of users said they would like to receive an additional number in future.
  • 75% of respondents said that they could see clear benefits in the service.
  • Just over 80% of respondents were also interested in an enhanced offer (such as a discount on goods or services) and the majority said that even if they didn't use it immediately, they would do at some point.
  • Half also said they would think about sending the information on to family and friends.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  12:15 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [2]

Mar 24 2006
YPG's Vertical Innovation Hits the Streets
Just got my hands on a copy of the "Style at Home Special Issue � Home Improvement" produced by Canada's Yellow Pages Group and media partner Transcontinental Media. The product was recently distributed in Toronto. The joint venture between the two publishers is aptly called "Vertical Guides Limited Partnership."

Briefly, the guide is exhibit A (or should it be exhibit "eh"?) of what we have been calling "vertical hybrids," or publications that mesh two types of media (magazines and directories) in order to drill deeper into a vertical category (home improvement).

The product is very slick and professional, and very upscale.

We will write more about this in an upcoming White Paper on core product innovation.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  11:16 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [7]

Mar 24 2006
TPI Bids In
Here is what we have found about the bids that have come in for the 60 percent stake in Spanish publisher TPI currently owned by Telefonica, Spain's leading telecom.

This is from the AFX news service. Note an apparent contraction with earlier reports that the Italian publisher Seat PG was not planning to put in a bid.

Telefonica SA has received at least four non-binding bids for its 59.9 pct stake in yellow pages unit TPI, including from France Telecom, Cinco Dias reported, citing unnamed market sources.

Three consortia formed by private equity firms Apax and Cinven; KKR and Carlyle; and Permira, CVC and BC Partners had also launched non-binding offers by yesterday's deadline, it said.

The offers range from 3.0 bln to 4.0 bln eur for 100 pct of the company.

According to a Spanish news agency, Yell and Seat have also presented bids.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  11:12 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [1]

Mar 24 2006
New Customer for FAST
Fast Search & Transfer has announced it landed a deal with the Finnish directory publisher Fonecta, which is part of the PE-backed European Directories organization.

Here is the release from FAST.

Here is what we picked up from Norwegian News Digests:

Norwegian real-time search and filter technology company Fast Search & Transfer ASA said on March 24, 2006 that Finnish directory company Fonecta Ltd will deploy its directory and Interactive Yellow Pages (IYP) solution FAST AdVisor across Fonecta's Internet directory services offering, under a contract between the companies.

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

The agreement with Fonecta is based on software license, maintenance fees, and professional services, Fast Search & Transfer said.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  11:01 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [1]

Mar 24 2006
As Long as There Are Publishers...
Yellow Book continues its stready pace of acquiring independent directory publishers � large, small and in between. The company just announced the acquisition of Banana Publishing in Springfield, Mass. This is not the Springfield of "Simpsons" fame (at least we don't think so). It is, however, the largest and oldest of the countless American cities named Springfield.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  10:36 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [1]

Mar 24 2006
More Ink on Syndicated Usage Results
Found a couple of new items on the results from the Yellow Pages Market Reporter, the syndicated usage measurement product from KN/SRI. One is a press release from BellSouth touting its results from Birmingham, Alabama. And another is a news story from a Pittsburgh paper on the industry's syndicated research effort that makes the point that usage is more fragmented than in the old days, when most towns were one-book towns.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  10:24 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [1]

Mar 24 2006
Independent v. Independent
Found this press release interesting. One independent publisher is suing another in federal court for allegedly copying ads for a competing publication. This is not such a big deal as a business dispute, but it does offer a small glimpse into how the directory world is changing in the United States.

There was a time when these things didn't happen between independents (or if so, rarely) because independents did not compete as fiercely with one another as they did with incumbent publishers. I used to hear independent publishers say they would not launch a product in competition with another independent as a matter of principal. They didn't all say this, of course, but almost no one says it now.

With so many markets having so many competitors, the era of gentlemen's agreements between independent publishers would appear to be ending, if it isn't already over. We expect to see more sharp elbows being thrown among independents, and sometimes this may take the form of litigation. Independent publishers got where they are (and where they are is wealthy, at least in many cases) by being tough, aggressive competitors that don't let themselves get pushed around. That won't stop because the competition is now another independent instead of the evil empire (i.e., a big phone company publisher).
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  10:02 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [1]

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