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I'd say there's an element of prequalification in the case of people directly navigating to <City><Service>.com
I'd say that, in the VOIP-IM future, click-to-call will be where business connections are made. The heck with the phone.
I'd say that, as time passes, more people will take up the habit of direct navigation. All it will take is a few local domain billboards for people to begin to get curious. If they see <City>Taxi.com whilst commuting to work what's the chance that some day the same people will type-in <City>Limousine.com when they are researching hiring a limo? So . . you might want to grab <City>Limo.com whilst you can. You might also build a website that someday you sell to a local service provider . .
So, I say that all those local domain names sitting around out there - especially the one's for which there isn't much of a PPC market at the moment and therefore, thankfully, the traffic tasters and others aren't too interested - are the future.
I'd say that 2006 is to local search in 2009-10 what 1996 was to web search in 2000.
Ya, Boston<Service>.com will always outpeform <Tallahassee>Service.com. So what? You're not happy unless you are making the easy money on a handful of domain names? What happens in 2010? What was going on in the minds of some in 1995?
I'd say that in 2010 there will be lots of local service providers, paying by the click or by the call, that will wish they spent a few dollars in 2006 to pick up the generic version of the local service they provide.
I'd say that a local domain that costs <$10 today is likely to offer a ROI in the future that will easily make that domain investment worth $500, $1,000 and more in about 3-4 years time. That is, $40 becomes worth $500 in about 3-4 years. What's one type-in "referral" for a $6,000 roofing job worth?
Can you think of any other investments likely to yield that type of return on little effort?
OBTW, you might want to build something now, too - not just sit on your domains like a certain knucklehead I know, the one who didn't even park his domains with a PPC service for . . I dunno . . about 5 years. ;0/
Don't be a dope like that guy. There IS a future in local search. The larger markets were cornered in 2000-2004 in many cases - as they still were available. That said, the "new large" need not be that large to work.
I used to pay $15,000+ a year for a listing in a local yellowpages that was distributed to a county with a population ~200,000. It generated a few leads.
Trust me. All it takes is 1 lead for a domain to pay for itself, in many cases many times over. And, for the math to work you don't even have to be a professional service provider.
You might be in the roofing business. You might sell fence. You might offer taxi services.
You get it? When you go to sell your localized website or sell 1 of maybe 3 listings or agree to sell leads to 1 of 3 subcribers it is the value of the lead that matters. How much is that bloke paying for the 3 leads a year they get from their $1,500 yellowpages listing?
Oh, alright, I know. Some of you want the easy money. You want to collect domain names, park them now and start rolling in the dough. Sorry, but that's unreal. Totally. And there are those that are so much better at nailing down whatever might have some traffic right now.
But the nice thing is that these same players have not interest in the future, in web development, in "the small stuff".
I'd suggest that some relatively small effort, on a larger scale, might help you pay your kid's tuition in about 5 years. A bit of risk, some investment of time and money, some public service mentality is all that I say is required. Ya, some work. You want easy money? Buy my ebook about the secrets of registering localized domain names. :-P
Alrighty, I think I'm done for awhile attempting to clue you all into what I see as an opportunity that is rapidly disappearing. I could be wrong, so caveat emptor.
Just like I was wrong in 1999 for only trageting my own local market for localized domains. :0/ DANG!
[edited by: Webwork at 4:51 pm (utc) on Aug. 2, 2006]
I've an interest but google doesn't seem to love them, mind you there might be other reasons for the lack of love in this case,
Am I understanding you correctly?
$15,000 a year is a gigantic sum, did you sell to every one in town for that kinda money
Would you mind stating your guess as to the top-10 or so local services, i.e. phoenixplumber.com or whatever?
An issue is the 1 word term is often taken in the com extension (as in my example domain), therefore do you feel 2, 3 or even 4 word geo names are also viable?
Awww . . jeez . . my better instincts say not too . . "let 'em learn to think and learn by doing" . . oh . . alright . . start by studying a few local yellowpage books . . and study some census data . .
That should get you started.
How viable would multi-word names be and also other extensions such as org for example if the one word geo com is gone (as it often is). I do suspect with most geo names com may be the only way to go for type-in traffic. Thanks again.
I'm not so sure ;)
Local is a function within search not a separate function.
How important "Local" is depends on what is being searched for.
Its a bit like vertical search subset, its a concept that is only valid while the engines fail to model the function adequately into the normal SERPS they return.
As the engines get better it is going to become a niche which is consumed.
If you don't ad value all you end up with is a listing of businesses service etc. Then you run into branding.
Why would i go to devnverheatingengineer.com denverplumber.com denverboilershop.com etc when I could just go to yellowpages.com and be prompted for a list of likely categories. I also know that when I go back later for flowers I will already be familiar with the site.
I don't see this as "who rules the roost" so much as I see it as "who has what competitive advantage(s)".
If you are interested in building the largest plumbing business in Elbonia might you want to make it part of the plans to nail down ElboniaPlumber(s).com? I sure would.
In the YP world of 38 or 380 local plumbers, how will you differentiate your business? What "luxury tax" will the YP company charge for that? So, you do it, then the next guy does it and the next guy . . Makes for a happy YP - as you clamor to distinguish yourself - by paying more to have a bold ad . . with a red border . . ranking in the top 5 local listings . . for that month.
Even when playing in the YP world how easy will it be to capture mindhshare, when advertising for your Elbonia Plumbing services, if your company URL is ElboniaPlumbers.com? Are all YP ads created equally? I don't think so. Who might succeed with a smaller advertisement in other media? ElboniaPlumber(s).com or . .? Who wins the memory factor game?
Who says anyone looks to the yellowpages IF they already have a significant clue of a targeted search for a local plumber? I've used various YP websites and can't say that I was overly impressed: First, pick which yellowpages. Next, scan their system. Next, enter your zip code or address or whatever. Then, hopefully, the page that load is and only is a list of Elbonia plumbers - but that's often not the case as there is other clutter on the page. Gotta make money to feed the large beast.
Related questions that matter: What's the value of a sales lead versus what's the cost of a domain name? How many leads will the domain name generate?
My guess is that as the cost of online advertising comes down or goes up online advertising will still will be a bargain compared to the old YP monopoly, so if you get 1 lead every 3 years from source X, which lead is worth $350 net, and the ad cost you $30 for that period did you waste your money?
What if the value of the lead was $2,000 or $5,000 or $15,000?
There's a lot of variables to consider, so choose wisely when allow this opportunity to pass you by.
I've played the local search by domain name game a bit with my own business. It worked. Nicely. Too well, actually, at a time when I needed to cut back, so I pulled it all down and put 'em in cold storage.
Tuition bills are due shortly. Time to dust off those local domain names.
[edited by: Webwork at 12:41 am (utc) on Aug. 4, 2006]
Why not just use Adwords if you want to advertise a business?
If you want to target businesses within one geographical area why not build a directory targetted to that area?
The problem is for local targeted sites how do you provide that affirmation in the searchers mind?
For search engines and targeted shopping engines like shoplocal.com and become.com its a lot easier to transfer that confidence, no doubt these services will be consumed by the main engines.
For example if there is a popular greeneyedwidgets.info site greenwidgets.info will get a few type in's as will widgets.info and perhaps redeyedwidgets.info.
There will also be a few greeneyedwidgets.com and a few greeneyedwidgetsinfo.com .com being the dominant extension but virtually no greeneyedwidgets.net or greeneyedwidgets.org.
Bleed seems to occur within the extension.
Typein's seem to depend on the user's perception of the chances of success.
Therefore by volume .com first then ccTLDs second like co.uk, then .org , then .info & .net and lastly .biz
At least <cityname>viagra was still available ;)
When I searched for smaller cities ~40,000 a lot of <cityname><service> were available.
What's one type-in "referral" for a $6,000 roofing job worth?
Google and Yahoo only have a few thousand people selling advertising and educating the marketfor them. Yellow page companies are highly established with good customer repore already. They ask a customer "Why not advertise online as part of your yellow page package" - who will say no if they have a web site?
The latest data I heard was that Yellow Page advertising had over 20,000 (around 10x as much as Google and Yahoo combined) sales people!
Do yourself a favor. Buy every domain that starts with a location of an area of interest.
One of the world's laregest sales forces is now rapidly selling ad space. More competition will drive the prices up and the domain resell values will soar!
[edited by: Webwork at 2:35 am (utc) on Aug. 10, 2006]
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