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A panel of national agency representatives (“National Advertisers Going Local”) delivered the message that more local revenues would flow to local sites, including IYPs, if the focus were more on making their properties easier for national advertisers and their agencies to work with.

“The search value proposition has been established. We are feeling no sales pressure from the IYP companies for national clients. They need some research, and a framework for placement of ads,” says Shawn Riegsecker, chairman and CEO of Centro, which helps national clients and agencies buy online media at the local level. “We place a ton of display ads, and no one has explained to us why we should place at local level on IYPs or local sites. The industry has to get smarter about how they are selling it, and investing in research.”

Another interesting point of agreement was that most national advertisers are in no hurry to embrace user rating and reviews.

“There is a high degree of discomfort with user-generated content,” said Riegsecker, adding that national brand advertisers still look for “safe” environment to promote their brands.

Alicia Morga, CEO of Consorte Media, said her agency, which specializes in Hispanic media, has found that “social networking sites do not perform as well as we would like.”

An audience member asked whether national advertisers were bidding up local keywords to crowd out truly local keyword advertisers. The panelists pushed back on this, arguing that local accounts were the ones bidding up the local keywords.

“It tends to be local advertisers that drive costs up,” said Jeff Hughes, media director of GM Planworks.

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