TKG Data and Analysis: A Weekly Recap

screenhunter_31.jpgIn case you missed any posts, here is a weekly recap of select happenings in local search, Yellow Pages and online media. Read below to read each post in full.

LiveDeal Gets More Social
Classifieds aggregator LiveDeal has been on a roll this year in bringing new content into the fold to become more competitive as an overall local search destination. First it brought directory listings (via YP.com acquisition of LiveDeal) to compliment its classifieds listings, then it brought in social media (classifieds discussion boards), then video. Now the site has gone further down the social path by bringing in reviews content from Yelp. (Read more…)

MerchantCircle Gets IAC Money, 250,000 ‘Members’
MerchantCircle is claiming a registered base of 250,000 small businesses. That’s a lot — a penetration of 4.8 percent of the 12 million U.S. businesses that advertise. It has also announced $10 million of new funding, adding the likes of IAC and Square 1 Bank to prior investors, which include Rustic Canyon Partners, Scale Venture Partners and Steamboat Ventures (the venture capital arm of The Walt Disney Co.). Among other things, the money will be used “for acquisitions.” (Read more…)

YPG’s Directory EBITDA Nears 60%
Yellow Pages Group released its third-quarter numbers this morning and will have its earnings call at 1 p.m. Eastern today. We will listen in and post a few details from the call a bit later. One key data point: The directory business (revenues of C$331.6 million) generated C$198.4 million in EBITDA, a 59.8 percent margin. Overall, the directory unit grew 5.5 percent in the third quarter. Online revenues for the combined directory and vertical media (classified) operations were C$45.1 million. Vertical media generated Q3 C$86 million in revenues, with a 34 percent EBITDA margin. (Read more…)

For Yell, Competition a Factor on Both Sides of the Pond
Yell Group reported its half-year 2008 results yesterday, and the publisher revealed that while its online product in the U.K. continues to grow at a torrid pace, print grew only modestly in the U.S. and declined 4.4 percent in the U.K. In both instances, the print challenges were attributed at least in part to strong competition. (Read more…)

Social Networking Ad Targeting: The Local Angle
Both MySpace and Facebook announced new ad platforms yesterday, signaling an increased interest in the ad targeting abilities of social networking. Though there are some privacy concerns with this type of targeting, both platforms will seek to utilize users’ level of engagement in the social networks, combined with the amount of information they make known about themselves through their profiles, interaction with friends and behavior. (Read more…)

Idearc Singles Out National Channel for Poor Showing
I listened to the replay of last week’s Idearc Media third-quarter earnings call, and a few items stood out. First, Idearc made the assertion that through nine months of 2007, most of its challenges in the print business were the result of poor performance of the national sales channel (CMRs). National was also blamed for weaker than normal third-quarter online performance (+15 percent compared with more than 25 percent year-to-data growth). (Read more…)

A Closer Look at Google’s New Mobile Consortium
Google announced the beginnings of a consortium that includes 30-plus members to create an open source mobile operating system called Android. The operating system is built on the open Linux Kernel and uses the liberal Apache v2 open source license. The liberal open source license means developers will be able to build applications for mobile services worldwide much like they do for the Internet today. Updates and new applications will be managed through a publicly accessible repository where each platform module is assigned an owner who validates developer contributions. (Read more…)

Quigo, a Google Substitute, Being Sold to AOL
AOL is set to pay $340 million (updated) for Quigo, which provides a contextual ad network alternative to Google. The deal includes PageCast, a video search product, and will be added to AOL’s impressive arsenal of network, behavioral and contextual services, including Advertising.com and Tacoda. Quigo, an Isreali/New York company launched in 2000, was rumored to have been in play with a major Yellow Pages company, so it is an interesting change of fate. The way it ended up is interesting too — in part because Google owns 5 percent of AOL. (Read more…)

Google Announces Long-Awaited Mobile Platform
Google made the official announcement today that it will launch an open source mobile operating system called Android. This is named after the company Google acquired in 2005, whose former founder, Andy Rubin, is now Google’s director of mobile products. With this is also the formation of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of industry carriers and device makers including Motorola, LG and SprintNextel. (Read more…)

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