AgendiZe last week announced a new widgetized version of its save & share functionality for small-business Web sites. Peter Krasilovsky mentioned it briefly last week, and it’s been since covered in a few places.
But I finally had the chance to catch up with CEO Alexandre Rambaud on Friday to dig deeper on what the product means for small businesses, overall online advertising trends, and for Yellow Pages publishers’ ability to more effectively deliver leads across platforms. The latter is a message that has gotten louder and louder over the past few years, most recently at DDC.
For those unfamiliar with AgendiZe, it provides a functional overlay to Yellow Pages listings to give them more portability to live on in different formats and be more “social.” Specifically, it allows users to easily send listings, phone numbers and any other relevant data to their Outlook contacts, e-mail, IM, Facebook and other places where users live. The company has partnerships with Yellow Book, Yellow Pages Group in Canada and others to bring this functionality to their IYPs.
Last week’s announcement brings this capability directly to small-business Web sites in the form of a small button (“AgendiZe Me”) which any small business can plant on its Web site by pasting a simple HTML code. This essentially brings the same save & share functionality to any Web site interested in having its information easily saved, sent and shared through various social media (see example here).
“For small businesses, it’s hard to get recognized unless you buy a bunch of traffic,” says Rambaud. “Other ways are to work on ways to increase the word of mouth and social interaction around your Web site.”
The Message for IYPs
What hasn’t been covered yet that I found interesting is the all important question of how this will be sold. SMBs, it is well known, aren’t inclined to self provision advertising in large part. For small businesses, advertising is mostly sold, not bought. So this type of tool — though compelling — probably won’t get the traction it deserves on its own.
There does seem to be an opportunity, however, for Yellow Pages publishers to bundle such a tool for advertisers’ own websites, with IYP and other cross-platform ad sales (if they are truly interested in being “platform agnostic” as they repeatedly claim).
This should interest IYPs as a way to build and sustain advertiser relationships with more proof of ROI and more ability to bring leads to advertisers. This ROI would be solidified to advertisers through white-label branding, according to Rambaud. In other words, the “AgendiZe Me” button on a small business’s site would contain the branding of a Yellow Pages publisher.
If this doesn’t interest IYPs, perhaps it should be done for competitive reasons, given that such a tool could end up in advertisers’ hands through other channels, such as hosting companies with which AgendiZe could partner, to bundle it with web site hosting and development offerings.
Advertiser perception of value in a source of leads in this case would come from somewhere else. This gets into the territory of the rally cry echoed by some progressive publishers at industry conferences: “If we don’t do it, someone else will.”
But Rambaud is first interested in the Yellow Pages sales channel and in building on the foundation of the products AgendiZe has already created in the IYP environment.
“Publishers want to be rewarded as lead generator,” he says. “And advertisers want calls and people contacting them in lots of different ways. This is a way to make it easier for publishers to be rewarded for what they are providing.”