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A Face-Lift for Yellowpages.com: Next Up, Video

By: 4 June 2007

Summary

The new Yellowpages.com beta is available for users to access and play around with. Lots of features are still unavailable, but you can get a general idea of what the new site will offer. The look and feel has been enhanced, and there are also functional changes such as better neighborhood search capabilities. Given all the strengths held by Yellowpages.com, many believed its site design and user experience were in need of improvement. Now that it is going down a path toward improving its UI, these other strengths will stand out better, and the overall product should see a bump in exposure and traction.

Analysis

Yellowpages.com is positioned well in the local search world with a strong brand, sales channel assets, and developing mobile and video initiatives. It recently added to these strengths by launching a new interface, which is available in beta form.

The new design is sharper and more intuitive and includes new features, such better click-to-call and ratings and reviews integration. The sharper design and utility of the new site will also serve to augment other efforts, such as small-business video advertising integration. Combine this with the sales expansion announced by the company last week and these are all factors that represent a clear push for Yellowpages.com to redefine itself, or at least strengthen its position in the very competitive local search space.

Yellowpages.com CMO Matt Crowley recently spoke at The Kelsey Group’s Drilling Down on Local conference about the video piece. The company is interested in integrating video to the site experience, as well as launching bundled sales efforts for small businesses. Like Citysearch’s recent video integration, this would take the form of small video windows that would accompany individual listings and be sold as additional ad units or upsells to print and online listings. It could also feature video within city-specific pages that spotlight rotating local content.

Given the company’s strong sales assets and the ability to bundle such a complementary ad offering beginning to show demand and adoption among SMEs (see recent TKG video paper), it will be positioned well to have a big part in the online video trend. It should begin to execute on this sooner than later, however, given companies like Citysearch that have gotten a head start.

TurnHere, which Citysearch partnered with for its video integration, could also be viewed as a possible partner for Yellowpages.com and other IYPs interested in integrating merchant videos. Others include Spotzer and Spot Runner (the latter currently deals only in cable TV ad distribution, though we expect this to change).

Citysearch has likewise been on a clear path toward redefinition and has started to evolve from a city guide to more of a general local search destination with lots of site developments, management changes and a strong local sales push (also see recent TKG paper on Citysearch’s evolution). Importantly, its many improvements have also positioned it to be more competitive with IYPs such as Yellowpages.com.

Meanwhile, many local search destinations have engaged in redesigns and functional enhancements lately, such as Superpages.com, Local.com and Yell.com. So an improved interface comes at a good time for Yellowpages.com, and it will be interesting to see what affect this has on its traffic and advertising. We will continue to review the new features as they are integrated and activated throughout the site. Check out the new beta site for yourself and let us know what you think.

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Related TKG reports: Online Video: A New Local Advertising Paradigm; Citysearch’s New Era: Video, Personalization and Social Media.



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