Online classified destination LiveDeal announced today that it will integrate Yellow Pages listings. This feature could be found on the site over the past few weeks as it was released in beta, but is now incorporated as its own category, and is positioned as a tab on the LiveDeal home page.
The convergence of classifieds and directory content is also something we expect to see more of. As we pointed out in a White Paper earlier this year, online newspapers have the opportunity to do this in providing search results that bring together these disparate sources of content, which have traditionally been in different buckets. They can also bring in relevant news content where applicable. For example, providing search results for a query for “BMW” with listings for dealers, classified listings, auto reviews, and news about the company and its products.
The challenge in doing this, as pointed out by Oodle CEO Craig Donato during a classifieds/directory convergence panel at DDC2006, is that these categories contain different search technologies based on the nature of the content. Classified content is much less standardized in the way that listings are worded than directory listings are, for example. LiveDeal has gotten around this by creating a separate tab and I imagine a whole separate corpus of searchable listings for Yellow Pages content.
Still, combining these traditionally separated content categories in unified search results could provide utility for users and stickiness for any local search destination. Add in news, weather, sports, movie listings and personalized features such as RSS, and you can begin to see the possibilities for local search destinations (My Yahoo! currently provides something similar that could be a model for attractive personal local portals). The challenges will be in execution, branding and gaining traction given Internet users’ established habits. For now, the Yellow Pages integration is a step in the right direction for LiveDeal.