June 11, 2010
For a flat monthly fee of $25, businesses can enhance their listings that appear on Google.com and Google Maps with a yellow tag that emphasizes specific information such as a coupon, video, website, menu, reservations, photos, or a custom message. Tags do not affect the ranking of the listings, and we clearly indicate which parts of the search result are sponsored.
First found on Blumenthals.com.
What it means: related to my previous post about local monetization, Google is now launching a fixed-fee product called “Tags”. This has been the bread and butter of online monetization at directory publishers. The model is proven and will resonate with small merchants. Question: why did it take so long for Google to launch this?
Update: thoughts from Greg Sterling on this announcement. He adds “The mobile distribution of Tags may ultimately turn out to be more significant than on the PC.”
June 11, 2010
My friend Mike Boland (BIA/Kelsey) discusses check-ins, geo-location startups and monetization over at SearchEngineWatch:
(…) But in all of the excitement, there’s still something missing; a clearly defined path to monetization. Some of the players mentioned above are exceptions with national advertisers, and other revenue streams such as carrier deals. (…)
The problem is that this ignores what those in local space have known for years; self-provisioning ain’t that simple. But the line is still the same from newcomers to the geo-location game: “Why wouldn’t any SMB want to sign up for something that drives foot traffic into their store or restaurant?”
In theory, I agree. But the thinking falls apart with the reality that most SMBs don’t have the time, technical competence, and inclination to launch and manage these promotions. Plus, don’t forget the complexity of countless sales reps and new digital options flying at them from all angles. (…)
What it means: Monetizing online “local” is very difficult. Even Google has had difficulties with it. The only ones who have been massively successful are directory publishers but they forgot to take care of users all these years. It’s difficult to monetize but not impossible. Just look at Groupon. And I think we’re starting to see savvier small merchants out there, who are starting to use the Web in a very strategic fashion. But it will take time.
Jon Brod, executive VP, AOL Ventures, was keynote speaker today at the BIA/Kelsey Marketplaces 2010 conference. He gave us a good update on AOL’s local strategy centered around Patch, the hyperlocal/citizen journalism initiative at AOL.
Highlights from his keynote:
- Local is the largest opportunity YET to be won online
- AOL’s five pillars: content, advertising, communications, ventures, local
- Patch’s mission: to improve communities and the lives of their residents through information.
- Patch consists of i) a scalable technology platform, ii) structured data, iii) professional journalists in every community
- Monetization: i) self-serve ads 2) Ad sales reps
- Operating Patch is 4.1% of the cost of a like-size daily newspaper
- AOL will soon to relaunch City’s Best brand (was dormant)
- AOL will soon relaunch MapQuest as well
Additional notes from Local SEO Guide:
- Patch has grown from 3 markets one year ago to 41 communities on four different states.
- They have a LocalFund to invest in local startups.
- AOL on the record as investing $50MM in Patch and City’s Best this year.
Brod mentioned they had this quote about local: “local is not a one-ton gorilla, It is 2,000 one-pound monkeys”.