Local Search has gone from being a hot market to a now market. First up is Warren Kay. From a consumer perspective Yahoo is the largest destination 60,000 pages dedicated to local and 600,000 cities. Initially the approach was to have an army of editors which didn’t work, they have switched to a user generated model. All of the information is connected back through a user profile, to help you put the information on the proper context. A new part of flickr uses geo-tagging for photos. Using a mobile phone automatically geo-tags the data based on the location of the cell phone tower. From a merchant perspective they can advertise for on Yahoo local, and this exists even for people who don’t have a website. Yahoo is using internal data and cookies to help geo-target where a user is. They also user IP to try and determine where the user is and make sure this corroborates with the cookie data. Where on earth allows them to reccomend services from adjacent neighborhoods when it’s relevant and appropriate. They estimate over 240 million will be using mobile search by 2010 or 80% penetration. The product that is being offered on mobile is very similar in functionality to standard search, including sponsored search. If you don’t have a WAP compatible landing page Yahoo sponsored search can create on for you.
Next is Doug Perlson, initially they started building a contextual business, and this led them into local search. Local is going to be going through a huge amount of growth, businesses are looking for better ways to reach their customers. He sees it becoming more competitive and possibly more expensive. The key is going to be targeting the searches so you display ads where they are relevant. From a content perspective local sites can provide a very focused viewer, however you need to incorporate geo-targeting for visitors outside of the area. Typein traffic or direct navigation is controversial with parking products and domain squatting as an example he shows NewYorkRealEstate.com. Local search should have different creative, distinct tracking, that’s all targeted for the local customer. He expects mobile to be huge area for growth, pay-per-call is loosing some interest. ISP’s are starting to look at ways to use data they have for advertising.
Next up Jake Baillie of TrueLocal.com. It’s a fun and real business and I’m just going to show you how to spam the search engines. Currently he is buying a lot of advertising, with keyword expansion. with cities, states and zip codes, such as “mortgage broker Cleavland”. Neighborhoods are another good expansion, as are area codes where it carries a specific meaning, counties are also good areas. Airport codes are used by travellers, especially if there are layovers. Such as product names, brand names, SKU’s slang and government terms, such as DMV. Regional names (pop vs soda). Auto generate coupon code are another great method. Mention location on landing page.
Steven Stern from Local came from the yellow pages straight to mobile search. The largest growth in mobile usage is in the 25 to 36 age group. 63% of searches are for local areas. Mostly a male dominated market 52% earn over $60,000. The carriers are looking for content but it presents a lot of problems with device and service provider compatibility. Carriers are working out the details and how to integrate and manage advertising.