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Dec 31 2005
Happy New Year!
. . . from all of us at The Kelsey Group.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog , Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  23:10 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Dec 31 2005
Will 2006 Be a Breakout Year for Mobile?
Not for the �mainstream,� but there will be growing momentum. Here are several mobile-related posts:

SiliconBeat on mobile couponing from Cellfire
John Battelle writes about mobile initiatives, specifically Medio, in a couple of recent posts
Here�s Search Engine Journal on Google and Opera for mobile devices

Mobile is coming, but not this (2006) year. The pieces are still falling into place: network speeds, devices, databases. But they will fall into place. Then the question becomes: What is the business model to support it (fees, coupons, sponsorships, PPCall, PPClick or all of the above)? TBD.

Also, there�s lots of interesting stuff going on with FreeDA now (e.g., inFreeDA, Jingle, 1-800-San-Diego and others)�but more on that later.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  22:54 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Dec 29 2005
The Marchex ZIP Destination Strategy
While �intuitive� domains (direct navigation) can generate considerable traffic, Stephen Baker at BusinessWeek asks whether Marchex�s previous acquisition of ZIP code-based domains will prove a meaningful local search strategy.

The headline of the post is �Could zip codes burn Google in local search?� Short answer: no. Relatively speaking a very small percentage of users search for ZIP codes (as opposed to place names). The Marchex portfolio of ZIP sites is just part of a larger proprietary network the company is building to boost the quality of its traffic.

The ZIP sites will need to be aggregated with some sort of �front door.� Otherwise, they�ll just catch occasional, random consumer searches but won�t make a meaningful impact on local search in general.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  20:33 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Dec 29 2005
FAST Doing Deals
Gary Price has a brief roundup of some recent Fast Search & Transfer enterprise search deals. FAST has become the de facto enterprise search platform for top-tier IYPs, verticals and newspaper sites.

Of specific interest is the reported deal with Citysearch, once almost the only local game in town. Citysearch still has a very powerful local brand in the A&E space but has struggled to transform itself into a broader IYP.

Citysearch last year lost some traction and mind share to local offerings from search competitors. The ability to surface more content more dynamically and effectively may help boost the city guide as it confronts intensifying competition in 2006.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  18:21 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Dec 29 2005
Yahoo! Answers 'The Meaning of Life'
When Yahoo! Answers launched in early December, I decided just for fun to ask the question �What is the meaning of life?� to see what I�d get back. Just in time for the new year, and provided by the community, here�s the answer:

Since birth, we are on a journey; a journey that God has commanded us to take. Imagine a huge tree in a middle of a long rough road in a hot day. This tree casts a shadow and provides food to the travelers. You will see people resting under this tree and their eye on the road thinking about their journey and you will see others occupied with what the tree has provided them and who forgot completly about their journey. The smart ones take only what is needed from the tree to help them in their travel while those who forgot, have wasted their time for nothing The road is your way to God. Life is the tree.

There you have it! I didn�t make any of that up; it�s the real �answer.�

Now, if Yahoo! Answers can tackle �the meaning of life� question, I�m fairly certain it can help me find a good pizza place in Berkeley.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  12:18 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Dec 29 2005
YouTube Blindsides the Video Search Marketplace
Danny Sullivan over at SEW points to YouTube, an entrant in the red-hot video search space. Think of it as the Flickr of video. Users can upload video and search its library of user-generated content. And like Flickr, users can tag and add editorial layers of content to video.

Hitwise (linked through SEW), meanwhile, reports on the growth of the site and of the broader video search space, as well as some demographic data. Interestingly, YouTube has grown the most (in market share) over the past three months compared with Yahoo! video search, Google video search and AOL�s Singingfish (the only one that isn�t growing at all, which is surprising given that AOL has the greatest content assets of the four, and Singingfish has been around the longest).

Look for others�especially Yahoo! which knows the power of user tagging�to consider folksonomy strategies in their video search offerings. And keep an eye on YouTube, as it seems to have come out of nowhere and attracted a young and powerful demographic, among which viral marketing can spread like wildfire. Sound familiar? It might be too soon to tell, but so far it�s reminiscent of another runaway success among this demo: MySpace.

YouTube will certainly remain on our radar screens for the video search space, given its advertising implications as it fits into the broader IPTV ecosystem. Rupert Murdoch and a handful of other acquisition suitors are no doubt intently watching as well.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  12:10 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Dec 29 2005
Looking Back, Forging Ahead
CNET and Search Engine Watch round up the top Web and search stories of 2005 in their respective editorial opinions. It�s interesting stuff to reflect upon.

In many ways, 2005 reestablished the �credibility� of the Internet and the efficacy of online�search in particular�as an advertising medium. In 2006 we�re likely to see many of the same trends and themes repeat themselves and become even more pronounced. On the local front, we�ll see more competition, consolidation, accelerated consumer adoption of the Internet for local lookups, strong movement by some newspapers online, more penetration of PPCall, more social and user-generated media, and further acceleration of online video and fragmentation of the TV audience.

We�re working on our 2006 forecast and hope to have that ready in the relatively near future. (We�re expanding the scope of the forecast this year.)

Meanwhile, here�s MediaPost�s (reg. req�d) write-up of Borrell�s 2006 forecast (which appears to be directionally accurate and reflect a strong perspective re online newspapers and local TV). I disagree with some of the numbers, as reported, and there appears, from the article, to be an incomplete understanding of the relatively complex dynamics of the Local Search Ecosystem (TM) and SME behavior.

But we agree there will be growth; where and how are the issues.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  11:49 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Dec 29 2005
NSA Gives New Meaning to 'Spyware'
Politics don�t usually appear on this blog because of a variety of differing views at The Kelsey Group (and in most cases it�s not relevant to what we�re writing about). But I must say the National Security Agency has given new meaning to the idea of �spyware." And the warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens� online and offline communications raises critical new questions about privacy and what ISPs, telecoms, portals and others do and should be doing to afford reasonable privacy protection to private citizens.

As a practical matter, privacy may be all but gone in this country (as anyone who has applied for life or health insurance can readily attest). Nonetheless, it remains an important value and people generally continue to be concerned about online security and privacy . Yet they are largely ignorant of whether or how they�re tracked or how their personal data (or e-mail) are stored and/or used by their ISPs and the sites they visit online.

The �transparency� of online communications, Wi-Fi and wireless phone usage make it all the easier for unscrupulous commercial entities (or unscrupulous governments) to track our behaviors and even privately expressed attitudes (and that will only get easier going forward). And in a �free� country, that�s all really scary ... REALLY SCARY.

Privacy (among other important issues) is something none of us should be complacent about. It�s up to those who have strong views on the subject to express them loudly and publicly or risk further erosion of the kind of rights and protections we all take for granted.


More from the The Wall Street Journal (sub. req�d).
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  08:54 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

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