As the verticalization of search spreads into explicitly local categories, new opportunities arise for publishers to partner with innovative labels that provide creative solutions targeted to specific SMB networks and niches. Jad Dunning (CEO, DriverSide) and Jim Delli Santi (CEO, LikeList) presented two such products in distinct verticals — automotive maintenance and home service — at DMS ’10.
Dunning’s DriverSide is effectively an all-purpose set of content and tools to aid the car owner in saving money and doing proper vehicle upkeep throughout every stage of the ownership cycle. The suite of services in a customer’s DriverSide “garage” includes repair, maintenance, value guides and community tools to obtain quick feedback. The platform relies on private labeling the “garage” experience for car dealers, repair shops and parts dealers to incorporate it into their Web sites.
This relies on effective partnerships. Dunning is achieving this by linking up with quality resellers to expose the product to their constituents. DriverSide is a useful augmentation to the suite of products/services that resellers are already peddling and is a way for these partners to leverage their existing client bases. YP.com, for instance, is syndicating its auto listings to DriverSide so that these customers can be exposed to the product.
Delli Santi’s LikeList takes advantage of social connectivity and the power of personal recommendation to create an “aggregation of likes” that shares suggested businesses among friend networks. The popularity of Facebook “likes” and the more general explosion of social media as a societal connective tissue are both relatively new platform developments; the notion of trusting personal endorsements is fundamentally human. This is particularly crucial with life events such as choosing a doctor, finding a home builder or picking a lawyer.
LikeList parlays social trust into commercial favorability by using “like aggregation” to “build the foundation of the customer relationship.” Sharing one’s business “likes” across LikeList’s network also opens an opt-in for businesses to want to contact you.
Much like Dunning, Delli Santi has partnerships top of mind to grow the network that LikeList’s endorsement graph can touch. One such idea is to deliver a widget to publishers that shows on a business’ listing all the other businesses that it endorses.