Digging Deeper Into the Data: Local Search

In addition to the data jointly put out by Pew and comScore about the rise of search are data on local search and IYP usage. According to comScore, Yahoo! Local was not far behind AOL in terms of the number of uniques. This is a big deal, showing how far Yahoo! Local has come in a relatively compressed time frame.

In terms of the overall share of local searches (total volume was 447,829,790 local searches in 8/05), the comScore data reflect the following market share distribution:

Google Sites — 43.7%
Yahoo! Sites — 28.2%
MSN-Microsoft Sites — 13.7%
Time Warner Network — 7.5%
Ask Jeeves — 5.5%
InfoSpace Network — 0.9%
Lycos — 0.3%

comScore separately breaks out IYP usage (231,678,352 lookups in 8/05). Here's the percentage breakdown of the data:

Yahoo! Sites — 27.6%
Verizon Communications Corporation — 25.5%
Google Sites — 11.6%
YellowPages.com — 7.7%
Time Warner Network — 7.6%
InfoSpace Network — 7.0%
DexOnline.com — 5.0%
SBC Communications — 2.4%
Citysearch — 2.4%
Yell — 1.6%
BellSouth — 1.4%
Ask Jeeves — 0.2%

(The combined share of SBC, BellSouth and YellowPages.com is 11.5%, 0.1% point below the "Google Sites.")

There is some ambiguity here. Are the Google, Yahoo! and TimeWarner "local search" data, for example, the superset and IYP the subset? Or are these categories distinct? It's not entirely clear. In addition, comScore has traditionally been quite conservative in estimating local search volume (because of the inherent challenges in disambiguating queries — is "probate attorney" a local search, for example?)

Regardless, the quick takeaway from these data is that local search/IYP traffic is clearly growing.

I'll be following up with comScore SVP Jim Larrison. He and I will be presenting data during the opening session of ILM:05, seeking to answer the question: How Much Search Is Really Local?

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