Internet yellow pages site Switchboard.com debuted new search technology that helps users narrow their searches for local information and overhauled its site to look more like Google. ...
Palmerow said that search engines' reliance on sorting through unstructured data -- sites taken from the Web, not directories -- gives customers too much extraneous information, forcing them to figure out on their own what is relevant.
"Everyone else is doing a keyword match, forcing people to disambiguate those search results themselves," he said.
Sterling said search engines realize the sales challenge and likely would need to partner with telecom companies or even newspapers that have established sales forces.
"At the small-business level, a lot of the success of yellow pages is that they have a sales force and they can push it to the advertiser," he said. "There's tremendous inertia at the local level."
Can your web site send these YP guys traffic? Maybe you should start asking for users' zip code, eh?