AOL may have trouble on several fronts, but it still gets millions of users and it intends to fully leverage them at the local level, per Chris Spanos, Director of Search Verticals, who was speaking at Kelsey Seattle. “Given its scale, local just hasn’t been getting fair share.”
Spanos says the local products will be receiving people, money and time. There will also be vertical investment in autos, travel and health. Previous regimes didn’t see rich opportunities in local and under-invested in the local products, he notes. They also didn’t leverage the relationship between the local sites and Mapquest, which remains the #1 mapping site. But that will change, especially as the city guides and Yellow Pages get relaunched.
AOL is also going to transform its sales effort. While dedicated local sales won’t be brought back, circa late 1990s, new self-serve and partnership efforts will be introduced.