Hitwise: Social Local Search Sites Up 44% in Past Year

According to LeeAnn Prescott on the Hitwise blog, “traffic to directories with user generated content (UGC) is growing at a faster rate than yellow pages directories.” She also added: “I think that UGC directories have the potential to become like social networks in local areas – serving the purpose that maybe a barber or store clerk did in the past. In addition, I believe that it will make the quality of service improve in many locations, since negative reviews could have such a big impact on a business’ success.”

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What it means: although it’s perfectly normal that growth rate at low-traffic web sites should be higher than established sites, I think we can safely say that social features and empowering users to contribute in a local search site environment is key to future success. These features will eventually become as common as Maps and driving directions.

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