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interactive local media

Interactive Local Media White Paper

Going Deep: Vertical Digital Directories
Carlotta Mast , 5/7/2004

In September 2000, The Kelsey Group (TKG) wrote about how online vertical directory was working to steal advertising share from the printed Yellow Pages in one of the medium's most important categories: pizza. As it turned out, Yellow Pages publishers need not have worried., which allowed Internet users in Reno, Nevada, and several other test cities to order pies from a handful of national chains, was short lived.

Since 2000, numerous vertical digital directories have suffered the fate of Yet many have survived and emerged as important aggregators of local business content., for example, launched in October 2000 to serve the 42 million U.S. residents who relocate every year. The site offers a "one-stop shop" to address consumers' moving, real estate, mortgage and home-improvement needs. The company now attracts 1.2 million monthly Internet users (thanks, in part, to an aggressive search engine marketing program) and is using a pay-for-performance pricing model to grow the number of advertisers on the site.

Perhaps the most widely known vertical success story is the Travel category, with sites such as, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and many others. Together, these and other travel verticals have transformed the travel business.

Yet vertical directories span a broad range of categories. And by specializing in one area, vertical directories are able to supply a deep well of localized content from business contact information to details on merchants and products while funneling well-qualified prospective customers to advertisers. One could argue that many of these verticals more efficiently facilitate that buyer-seller interaction than traditional media., a five-year-old vertical that enables car shoppers to research and find used and new cars online, is a case in point. The site is visited by millions of users each month and now includes the inventory listings for more than 40,000 U.S. car dealerships. In addition, a 2003 J.D. Power & Associates survey shows that about 30 percent of Internet car shoppers find the vehicles they ultimately buy on

Verticals like many of those mentioned above have gained considerable traction in the marketplace. But what is the future of these directories, and how will they affect traditional offline local media, as well as online media such as Internet Yellow Pages (IYP), classifieds and search engine marketing? For example, what impact will the embrace of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising by many vertical directories have on the potential revenues of Overture, Google, FindWhat and others as search engines move more aggressively into the local and small-business markets?

This report addresses and seeks to answer these questions. In doing so, it provides a detailed look at verticals in the legal, health-care, auto, shopping, real estate/relocation, home-improvement and restaurant/entertainment categories. It also offers in-depth profiles of leading Internet properties within these key vertical segments.

Copyright � 2005 The Kelsey Group. All Rights Reserved.
This published material is for internal client use only. It may not be duplicated or distributed in any manner not permitted by contract. Any unauthorized distribution could result in termination of the client relationship, fines and other civil or criminal penalties under Federal law. The Kelsey Group disclaims all warranties regarding the accuracy of the information herein and similarly disclaims any liability for direct, indirect or consequential damages that may result from the use or interpretation of this information.

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Copyright© 2006 The Kelsey Group. All Rights Reserved.