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Believing that it is uniquely positioned to dominate local search on the Internet, Verizon's Information Services arm has announced plans to overhaul its SuperPages.com site. The company's revamped Web presence, scheduled to debut on March 1, boasts a streamlined look without sacrificing anything in the way of information
As for advertising, Verizon plans to offer both pay-per-click and set-fee arrangements. "[Advertisers] want it both ways," Palma shrugs. "Some want to pay a monthly fee and know exactly where they'll show up, others want to give pay-per-click a try." Pay-per-click advertisers (three, with placement hinging on geography and bid amount) will occupy the central slot on most of the results pages, with sponsored links lining the right side of the screen.
The sums of money available to fund this war for the search turf are mind boggling. There's still room as the world sorts out the winning search-advertising-promotion-sales lead model for little guys with the slingshots to deliver a headache blow to the giants. There's so much money at stake that any number of small players with unique models are likely to walk away from the battlefield with booty - without ever raising a sword.
See you in Florida.
I few months ago I had an ad sales rep whose arm I had to twist on a daily basis to get me in on a CPC campaign with them only to eventually get kicked my sites kicked off because they were "no longer doing PPC campaigns"...
Now they have a press release saying they are? Ugh.
I talked to our Verizon rep the other day, and he hinted that there was something new coming out that we might want to look into for expanding our IYP marketing. He did assure me that our national and state listings would still be tops over any new listings, but he wasn't sure what would happen to those who paid yearly listing fees for a region or city (I think this is where the PPC will come into play - why charge $25-50/year if they think they can make more on PPC).
I think this could be a mistake as small companies don't want to manage accounts, they want to pay one flat rate per year. As a PPC specialist company, I see new markets opening up for dealing with local businesses.
Verizon does seem to understand the PPC market more than the other IYPs as it advertises for some very niche and locally driven KWs on a lot of PPCs.
This is just more proof that everyone thinks the money this year will be in the local search market.
[edited by: eWhisper at 6:46 pm (utc) on Feb. 3, 2004]
It's going to be interesting to see what the newspapers do with this. Some publishers hate the YP, others couldn't care less. But, a lot of newspapers "own" the local traffic, for whatever that's worth. Which is not much.
Atlanta, for example, has a really good web site and the promote the heck out of it in their paper. And they get about 2 million pageviews a month. They LOVE the yellow pages--they have it on every page of the web site. I think they're paid between 6 and 8 cents per click.
Now, is Atlanta (and everyone else) going to turn over any and all opportunities for local contextual ads to YP? A year ago, I'd said no way, but look what G and O were able to do.
All in all, this is going to make for a better web experience for users. And I hope it helps the local news web sites--they need some $.
My guess is that Verizon was hesitant to fully embrace ppc because it meant a lower bottom line for them. From my experience you spend far less on local cpc listings than you do for a online yellow page listing. (and Verizon would have all the click data to base decisions on) I think with Google and Overture both taking local search seriously, Verizon had no choice but to embrace the cpc business model. I guess we'll see on March 1st how serious Verizon is about local PPC.
Bingo. Yes, the traditional publishers hate PPC. Tough.
Webmasters need watch this. If you have a widget site you should be able to offer your readers local sources of widgets as well as what Google is offering. Yes, Google is already into geo-targeting, as is Overture.
But Superpages is in 48 states and has a sales forces which makes a reported 3000 calls a day to local ad buyers. Say what you will, but this is a threat to Google's concept of making $ off of the guy selling bird diapers. It's a easy and quick just to search from local to national and beyond.
Superpages' point about the plumber working out of his van with a cell phone is legit. Is that business going to go to Google? Google has a lot of work to do to make that happen. The YP are better positioned in this market.
It's interesting to see the IYP come up with different approaches. This Jan 13, 04 article has Switchboard teaming with Shopping.com, which makes a lot of sense.
Again, Switchboard, like Superpages, will obviously be looking for traffic.
I wonder if Quigo's AdSonar is going to be able to link into these YP searches? Their web site says, AdSonar "Enables ads to be served from multiple sources, including the publishers' own listings."
Ha. Maybe using AdSonar each publisher could, if they wanted, become a tiny InfoSpace, with a page of ads from their own list of keywords (which would reduce griping about wrong context) from Google, Overture, Shopping.com, the YP and any other ads they want to sell themselves.
I wonder if Quigo's AdSonar is going to be able to link into these YP searches?
I don't know if AdSonar will do this but I do know that the FindWhat contextual ad program is capable of doing this already. I would think if anyone was going to do it it would be FindWhat themselves given the relationship with Verizon.
They just started it. They are in an agreement to use another groups system that's been around for a few years and are implementing it slowly. You just have to call or email them and ask to use it.-JAG
You've lost me. What system?
And, anyway, why would a webmaster sign up for a contextual program with FindWhat over Google or Overture, unless you can link in your own directory or YP with it? I doubt Findwhat outbid G or or O. (Google offered us AdSense on sites that get less than 5,000 uniques a month. Now, it would have some ads on it and it ranks high on some searches--just not many people search on it.)
This is what's interesting to us in regards to what the YP are doing. These web sites are for suburban communities, with news and gossip. It would be nice to get some income--and offer the service--of the YP results in context to our editorial.
Contextual advertising system.
And, anyway, why would a webmaster sign up for a contextual program with FindWhat over Google or Overture,
Don't know. I guess the same ones who would sign up for Quigo or Kanoodle or TCLA or any of the other ones. To try something different maybe? I don't think there is a minimum like the search requirements.
I doubt that FindWhat could offer a higher cpc but if anyone can offer a higher cpm through a better system than why not? People do get stuck on cpc rather than what really counts though since it's the only thing most people talk about.
I mentioned FindWhat because if they have a relationship with Verizon and a contextual advertising system in place then it would make sense for them to offer it. I don't know if they will but I think it would be good. You mentioned Quigo as maybe doing it so it got me thinking why wouldn't FindWhat just do it and not use a middleman.
Publishers, if they had their own contextual system to adapt or modify, could tune it to their web site. They could use it to sell access to their archive, YP, financial data, health information, catalogs such as Shopping.com or Amazon--and search.
These moves by the YP sites convince me that contextual matching belongs in the hands of the publishers. Isn't providing context what publishers do?
This is why I'm so keen on Quigo's new approach with its AdSonar system--if I understand it. And from what I hear, AdSonar is going to be inexpensive, too.
From the article:
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?
Starting March 1, users of SuperPages will be able to perform general searches by typing in any keyword or phrase, rather than being limited to the precise business categories created by SuperPages.
... SuperPages.com, the company will also offer to let advertisers bid for placement and pay only for the ads that are clicked on. ... The SuperPages changes follow similar upgrades at Switchboard, an Internet Yellow Pages company, that earlier this month abandoned the category search in favor of keyword search. SBC's SmartPages.com site will follow suit in coming months, according to company executives.
Talked to the Verizon rep today, and they have no idea what the superpages people are going todo as far as existing accounts.
Another case where the offline vs online reps have little communication.