Local.com is in a different “local” category. It aggregates a ton of local content and features, but it doesn’t necessarily vie with local Yellow Pages or search sites for everyday local traffic.
Maybe it would if it could. It has added a lot of functionality. But mostly, with its easy-to-remember URL (which it paid $700k for) and helpful grab bag of local features, the site gets its traffic from the type of occasional user who is not particularly adept at using Google or too impatient to do so. It claims quite a few of those – 10 million every month.
A lot of Local.com’s users (and other IYP users) are travelers who are checking out travel destinations. Like me. I’ve been checking out a theater festival in Ashland, Oregon, next month, and don’t know anything about the place. Typing in “Ashland.com” – an amazing number of users gamble on “type in” URLs – gets me the name of an industrial firm. A Local.com category search for Ashland (hotels, theater, etc.) pulls up all the sought-after information.
So what makes the most sense for Local.com as a monetization strategy? How about a link with a major travel site? That’s exactly what it has done. Today, it announced a tie with Expedia.com and it has integrated vacation packages, flights, hotels, cruises, car rental and destination services into its search results. “Later this year,” Local.com promises to also offer Expedia’s hotel-related content, including “detailed hotel property descriptions, user ratings, photos and pricing information,” per company release.
The Expedia/Local.com tie-up, of course, is not the only travel/local match. Superpages.com and Yellowpages.com have generic local city guide content that they syndicate. I’ve also noticed that Kayak.com has paid links on Yelp.com, including Yelp’s e-newsletters.