New SMARTpages Prepares for YellowPages.com Integration
SMARTpages has relaunched with a new look and feel, preparing for the eventual merger of the site with RealPages.com under the unified YellowPages.com brand. The new site is a significant improvement over the user experience previously offered.
FAST Search & Transfer is the vendor behind search on the site and there's a product roadmap that extends beyond what's visible today. But this is a downpayment on the eventual YellowPages.com user experience.
One of the things that was really interesting about the old SMARTpages vs. other IYP players was its life events guides. Yellow Pages publishers have long known that life cycle events (e.g., homebuying, weddings, etc.) drive usage and comScore has shown the same to be true of e-commerce and related Internet usage patterns.
The new site translates those life events guides into "Smart Guides," a separate area on the site. The new site also has city guides. These are important efforts to broaden beyond the basic contact information historically offered on IYP sites. There's a ton of valuable content here, but the information is generally segregated from lookups on the "traditional" part of the site.
It will be interesting to see when the three sites (YellowPages.com, SMARTpages, RealPages) become one how the product evolves to meet a rapidly changing set of online user needs and interests.
Chris Tolles of Topix pointed out to me that that Topix is the source behind SMARTpages' local news in its city guides section.
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It's clearly a "work in progress", but I believe yellowpages.com is on the right track – they strongly believe in the "power of eyeballs" and they will lead this race in short time.
Despite all the focus on local web-based search lately, the investment in this property reinforces IYP as a superior local-search modelâ€¦and it couldnâ€™t have come at a better time. It also illustrates the strong position print YP publishers are in with respect to the future of how consumers will find local products and services online.
Potential challenges with this the new YellowPages.com include the local accuracy of content, including completeness search results and data. This is especially true outside home Bell South/SBC states.
They're in a position to make this the best product on the market and have a great opportunity in this investment; letâ€™s hope their efforts pay-off… for the entire IYP industry.
I'm actually quite disappointed in the new looks applied to SMARTpages and YellowPages.com since this merger began.
It seems like the best looking yellow pages sites are going down the tube one by one. First YP.com destroys its wonderfully clean design with what you see on the site today.
Then, YellowPages.com, which (despite some problems) had a very unique and retro look to it, is replaced with the current design… which looks like a web page straight out of the late 90s.
Now SMARTpages, one of the only other clean looking yellow pages web designs left gets the same treatment. I don't know how the glaring problems with the design could have been missed.
Hopefully the the search technology and increased content on the sites makes up for what they're now lacking in design…