AlikeList Launches Self-Serve ‘Minute Ads’ for SMBs

Self-serve ads will bring the SMB masses to the Web. But they haven’t made much of a dent in SMB advertising at this point. That hasn’t stopped a rush of new self-serve products coming out, several married to social media features. The latest is “minute ads” from AlikeList, one of the new crop of social/directory plays that also includes Redbeacon, Thumbtack, HelpHive, PriceLocal, Center’d and many others.

AlikeList’s Minute Ads allow business owners to create and publish offers on the fly, and change the offers as often as they like. They can be sent out to consumers that specifically request recommendations for a specific type of provider (i.e., plumber).

The Minute Ads are part of Alikelist’s “Business Central” platform, which is being priced at $19.99 a month. Included in the subscription is a “PromoSite,” along with presence and reputation management capabilities that enable customers to see how many people have “liked” or “want to try” their business, or who have clicked to their Web site or phone number.

CEO Jim Delli Santi believes that ALikeList’s like-only platform is highly differentiated from simple reviews and ratings sites (i.e., Yelp and Citysearch). “Review sites are more like media companies broadcasting review content generated from consumers,” says Delli Santi.

In theory, the site also does away with the “volume” problem of not enough reviews on a social site by letting users see “likes” from their friends, friends of friends, and then also from all over the Web.

By focusing only on “likes,” it also skims off the negative reviews. That obviously has pros and cons. I tend to like negative reviews because they provide nuance and important warning signs and make for entertaining reading. But negative reviews may also be the work of consumer vigilantes, and they don’t necessarily help people quickly find a business that they want to use.

AlikeList CEO Jim Delli Santi is speaking at Marketplaces 2010 on a hot session with Redbeacon CEO Ethan Anderson and Reply.com COO Sean Fox.

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