John over at the Kelsey Group blog has an interesting post entitled “Why Internet Yellow Pages Can Compete for Local Search”. He explains why The Kelsey group predicts that revenues at local search sites linked to a print directory publisher (so-called IYP in the US) will grow faster than general local search over the next few years.
- The sales force. It is getting better and better at selling online products
- Improved overall online offering (user experience, products, marketing)
- Residential search. Possibly the under-exploited killer app for directory publishers (think social networking).
- Structured results. The web is embracing more and more taxonomy and folksonomy. Directory publishers are experts at structured data.
- Mobile search. Local will explode through mobile and let’s not forget the informal ties that bind telcos with their former print directory friends.
What it means: do not underestimate the resilience and strength of the directory publishers ecosystem. It might take longer to innovate and follow competition but they have assets that can’t easily be replicated. This also means that the ecosystem is also very interesting from a business opportunity perspective. Publishers need help and will welcome companies who can help them compete online.