Yes, it's an interesting time to be in local search. It's hotting up on both sides of the Atlantic and the large providers are starting to realise that having a recognisable brand isn't the answer to everything.
SEO is more important now than it has ever been with Google dominating the search engine wars. I think Pat Marshall will be smart enough to take advantage of the areas that YellowBook are strong in (I think they have a very large and experienced sales force) and invest in areas they are weaker in (traffic & recognition vs bigger players).
He put SuperPages on course and I guess YellowBook have hired him to do the same for them.
The parent company is Yell (UK) and they are not used to chasing anyone, years of dominance in the UK market mean there will be some ambitious targets for YellowBook and Pat to meet.
As a local search developer I have reviewed yell.com, superpages.com and yellowbook.com just this week.
IMO superpages.com wins hands down. Superpages has more and flexible searches, better no match and too many matches handling, a signup system that the entire world should envy, advanced geo-targetting and an integrated and attractive dynamic interface. If Pat does the same thing on yellowbook, and adds in the new features he didn't have time to on superpages, then this will start a whole new wave of brand new bells and whistles in Local Search web application design.
BTW this other site below has some VERY hot coding on the frontend that improves local search ability:
[edit: URL Removed]
If you click on the English flag the site will make more sense... notice how you don't always leave the page when making a selection... the database results are (apparently) retrieved transparently in the background. This is future coding here today. But superpages still runs better overall.
[edited by: inbound at 4:48 am (utc) on Aug. 12, 2007] [edit reason] Removed authors URL and third-party URL [/edit]
... oh gosh sorry about the extra urls, everybody has different posting rules ... anyway, my main point was to inform others of the website which, having impressive and advanced data handling, was the primary reason of my post. Here it is, without the fully qualified domain url:
... notice how with some choices the page doesn't refresh, you stay on the same page... and new data is served while you're checking out the rest of the page.