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Yahoo! Local now relies on more than a dozen resellers, in addition to its own self-service center, says Yahoo! Local GM Paul Levine, who was speaking on a Small Business Commando Tele-Seminar with Dick Larkin and Kelsey's Matt Booth. "They help us reach advertisers that Yahoo! couldn't ordinarily reach," said Levine.

Among the resellers are AT&T and BellSouth, which have been selling Yahoo! for five years. Since then, 10 other resellers have hopped on board, including Dex (RHD), Website Pros, Cornerstone and Profit Fuel.

In other comments, Levine estimates that just 200,000 of the 12-16 million U.S. SMEs that advertise are currently using some form of Web Search — lower than many estimates. "It is only a handful." In terms of usage and product innovation, we are only in the second or third inning. But "it is a great new canvass for more merchants to participate directly."

While Levine emphasized that Yahoo! is committed to serving the advanced advertisers that want to manage their own keyword search buys and other services, the real key to Yahoo! Local's success going forward is "to make it easier to use," he says. "The one thing that unlocks Internet opportunity is to make a simple product."

Levine also notes that cross-platform services, such as mobile search, will play an increasingly important role in local advertising. In fact, Yahoo! has formed a special "Connected Life" division to leverage some of those cross-platform opportunities. "There is an amazing future for accessing content on the phone."

The Tele-Seminar was a redo from a newsmaking Aug. 2 event that had technical difficulties. Krasilovsky Consulting is providing strategic assistance to Small Business Commando in developing the series.

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