The fact that a smaller Yellow Pages publisher such as New York's Ambassador has adopted a fixed fee/guaranteed clicks program shows that momentum is building around this product concept. There are now multiple players ("small business aggregators") in the market offering this type of product (BellSouth, DexMedia, Interland, Vista, Lawyers.com, HomeGain, etc.).
In the near term, this product is the key to local search growth on the advertiser side. I believe we will see more and more companies that touch small businesses€"including newspapers€"offer simplified online/search marketing.
One other interesting note regarding Ambassador's offering:
"The research Ambassador conducted over the last year indicates that local businesses receive both phone calls as well as click-through's from their online marketing efforts. Ambassador measured click-thru rates and phone calls originating from advertisers' internet yellow pages (IYP) programs and found phone calls account for as much as 15% of the response."
Two things: most users of the IYP were clicking and call tracking will be critical for print publishers going forward. On the online front, pay-per-call, will also settle in as a standard offering much in the same way these guaranteed clicks products are starting to. And pay-per-call goes both ways (online and off).