It was a very interesting day yesterday at DDC2005, which saw keynote speeches from Dex Media's George Burnett and YellowBook's Joe Walsh (both of which seemed to elicit strong reactions) and videotaped interviews of SME advertiser interviews about their advertising budgets and behaviors (many had pointed things to say). There was also lots of interesting conversation outside the sessions on a range of relevant subjects — too much to summarize at this point.
Let's say that the whole local media landscape is getting more and more complex (and interesting). Right now I wanted to cover a range of things that happened in the news or elsewhere yesterday. I only have time for a few quick hits . . .
- SEM Reach Local announced a deal with TMP Directional Marketing (whose parent Monster Worldwide owns Monster.com), which is the largest Yellow Pages agency, to offer all of TMP's 600,000 locally oriented businesses access to Reach Local's platform and marketing distribution. According to the press release, "ReachLocal will offer TMP clients its patent-pending online marketing platform as part of an overall service that includes complete search engine campaign set-up and management, simplification of online media buying across multiple online publishers — including Google, Yahoo and Verizon SuperPages — and robust campaign reporting with sophisticated phone call and web activity tracking." So, obviously, this is a huge deal for Reach and potentially brings many thousands more local businesses (or local offices of national brands) into local search.
- Meanwhile over at TMP's sister company Monster.com, Monster Worldwide's CEO Andrew McKelvey was quoted as saying that Monster is not going to grow by taking share from its primary competitors (newspaper-owned CareerBuilder or Yahoo!'s HotJobs), but by taking business from print newspapers. CareerBuilder is the category leader. Print recruitment revenues were $4.6 billion in 2004 (NAA), while online revenues were approximately $800 million (Kelsey Group).
- At MediaPost's OMMA East conference in New York, going on now, there was a local search panel yesterday. According to the write-up, the big takeaway seems to be: limited inventory captured by national advertisers = barriers to local business access to local search inventory/opportunities. Yes, and? (There are plenty of other barriers too, the article mentions a couple.) As the YPA's Neg Norton (who was on the panel) apparently suggested, most true local businesses will only get access to desirable search inventory through intermediaries (e.g., YP publishers, local SEMs, newspapers, Web hosts). I had dinner with the Insider Pages crew here at DDC last night. And those guys are doing a great job of driving traffic on behalf of local advertisers. ServiceMagic and HomeGain are some other examples of intermediaries driving local search traffic on behalf of SMEs. As I've alluded to, there's a kind of "local search ecosystem" that has emerged. The story is much more complicated than the media are generally reporting (or typically interested in reporting).
- Jupiter released a wireless study yesterday — leading with another anti-local search headline — that indicated users were not willing to pay for local content on their cellphones. Again, in fairness, I haven't seen the report. The release doesn't entirely make sense; although I suppose they are talking about subscription services specifically for local content. I agree; I certainly wouldn't want to pay for such services on top of the already too-high cost of my wireless minutes. Yet ad-supported models on wireless devices are fundamentally tricky for too many reasons to go into now; however, it's very clear that users want local content on their cellphones above almost any other type of content. Local content/search on wireless phones is a big opportunity but nobody's yet figured out the user experience that will drive adoption (that then could yield monetization scenarios).
- Yahoo! released findings from a global youth study about media habits and attitudes. The research (with 13- to 24-year-olds in 11 countries) was massive and has tons of interesting findings. Among them that personalization is a key element of the youth culture's expectations of media. This echoes Jerry Yang's "from mass media to my media" keynote interview comments at SES in New York earlier this year. The research also shows the importance of community, wireless and the rise of the Internet generally. I'll explore the findings more in the next Local Media Journal.
- Platform provider Innovectra announced the launch of Alltel Local online. Alltel is a YP publisher based in Lincoln, Nebraska. The company will enable Alltel sell PPC and PPCall programs to the local merchant base it serves.
I'd like to go on, but I've got to prepare for my panels today.