Local.com Revamps Site; Profitability Expected by Year-End

Local.com has made its first substantive changes to the site in over a year. CEO Heath Clarke says the changes make it easier to find all the varied content on the local portal. It will also make it easier for the site to add more data to profiles and incorporate user-generated content, such as reviews, which the site has already been generating.

Clarke says the site attracts 10 million visitors a month, and has 17,000 small-business advertisers now — a big jump from the 5,100 advertisers it had previously garnered, thanks to the $1.2 million acquisition of 12,000 advertisers from Web site hosting companies last week. Clarke says Web hosters are “natural” partners as they get SMBs just as they’re beginning to invest more on the Web. The average advertiser is paying $35.

By the end of 2009, Clarke anticipates having more than 50,000 advertisers, through both acquisition and via the company’s outsourced sales force. More than 200 sales agents are currently selling Local.com solutions, he notes. That number might decline slightly as the company irons out “all the processes,” but they should all be fixed by the end of 2Q.

Overall, given the bad economy, revenues and traffic are slightly up in Q1 and slightly down versus the year-ago period, but holding relatively steady, says Clarke. He believes the company is well positioned to break even by the end of the year.

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