Calgary.com: Real-Time Local Search Powered By Praized

I’m very happy to announce the launch of a new real-time local search site with Yellow Pages Group: Calgary.com. This beta site indexes, aggregates, displays and makes searchable all types of local Calgary activities (merchant reviews, local news, advertiser activities, classified ads, municipal news, “tweets” from Calgary, etc.). Consumers landing on the home page can see at a glance what’s going on in Calgary right now. Users can also search in the activity stream to find last five activities around specific keywords/topics. At the same time, when searching, users see YellowPages.ca listing results (when the search is for local merchants) and have the ability to vote and comment on their favorite stores.

Calgary.com Realtime Home

For example:

Want to see what restaurants people are talking about?

Want to discover what people are saying at the airport today?

Want to buy a Chevrolet in Calgary? See classified ads and local merchants selling them.

Want to know the results of the recent local by-election? See a mix of tweets and news reports.

As I’ve stated before, I believe the future of local search will be in real-time, showing consumers everything that’s happening in their city, in their neighborhood, about their local merchants. Facebook’s (and Twitter’s) enormous growth in the last two years has seen the emergence of a new usage pattern around real-time activity streams and real-time search but the main issue with those popular social sites is that they’re not local enough. Directory publishers are local and can compete in this new real-time world.

This prototype, a first in the Yellow Pages industry, showcases three of our enterprise modules: local activity stream, real-time local search and social Yellow Pages. Partnering with Praized Media provides Yellow Pages Group access to key social media elements like Yellow Pages Answers, real-time local activity and local search, merchant reviews and user recommendations.  Congrats to the Praized development team for delivering this project and to Yellow Pages Group for trusting us with this project!

Update: Greg Sterling says “Praized appears to be hitting its stride with implementations like this.”

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Yellow Pages Group Represents 15% of All Online Revenues in Canada

The [praized subtype=”small” pid=”c4d2d76ecb2f9ad3c44c7561da14799dd0″ type=”badge” dynamic=”true”] released this week their report on 2008 Actual Online Advertising Revenue (.pdf). Some highlights:

  • Online advertising revenues in Canada have more than quadrupled over the past five years, and grew to $1.6 billion (net) in 2008, up 29% from the $1.2 billion $1.241 million reported in 2007
  • Online is now 11% of all advertising revenue
  • French language advertising revenues grew by 22% in 2008 to $317 million (net), and accounted for 20% of total Online ad revenues in Canada during 2008
  • 2009 Forecast: Online advertising revenue in Canada will grow to $1.75 billion in 2009 – an estimated 9.2% increase over 2008 actuals
  • Search advertising continues to lead in terms of share of dollars booked by Online Publishers ($602 million/38%), followed by Display ($490 million/31%) and Classifieds/Directories ($480 million/30%).

The report also explains what are the perceived industry challenges and opportunities going forward. The following have been identified:

  • Coping with the severity of the economic downturn
  • Demonstrating Display advertising’s return-on-investment (with or without a click) in response to growing Advertiser emphasis on performance-based (CPC/CPA) pricing models
  • Training offline media sales forces to effectively integrate Online into cross-media sales proposals
  • The commoditization of Online media by the growing number and increased market share of Advertising Networks.

What it means: very good growth in online advertising in Canada last year with 29%. An interesting particularity of the Canadian market is the large share of Classifieds/Directory online revenue, almost as big as Display ads. That’s definitely due in a large part to [praized subtype=”small” pid=”7ac08d444f37191c8a97699e6530751c” type=”badge” dynamic=”true”] who reported revenues of $247 million in 2008 (most of them in Classifieds/Directories I suspect). They officially represent more than 15% of all online revenues in Canada. Impressive results.

CanPages.ca Introduces Its Own Street View Feature

According to CTV’s Chris Abel, CanPages.ca, the local search site of [praized subtype=”small” pid=”58d245fd7e8f20800dee0ecd3af21f08″ type=”badge” dynamic=”true”], the independent Canadian directory publisher, has launched its own Street View feature. CanPages has partnered with San Francisco-based MapJack to deploy this technology in Canada.  Abel says it’s very similar to Google Street View but includes new features such as “a fullscreen mode and paths that explore pedestrian walkways as much as they do the streets ruled by cars and trucks.”

You can see it in searches in Vancouver, Whistler, or Squamish (all in British Columbia). As for future expansion, “the company plans to expand to include Street Views of Toronto and Montreal next, followed by as much of Canada as possible.”

Vancouver Street View Canpages

In the last few days, an ad for a video camera operator has appeared in a Quebec job site, making people think Google was going to capture Quebec City in Street View. It’s possible but I suspect it might be an ad for the first French Canadian street view deployment of CanPages.ca.

What it means: looking at the introduction of new features inside the CanPages.ca site in the last 6-12 months, it’s clear that the exec team there has identified feature gaps inside YellowPages.ca, the main property of Yellow Pages Group (and directory incumbent in Canada) and are trying to differentiate themselves via those new features. It’s a good strategic move. On the other side, YPG has a mapping agreement with Microsoft and I’m fairly certain the Redmond giant is also taking street view pictures (many people on Twitter have reported seeing the Microsoft vehicle taking pictures). This will certainly be easy for YPG to deploy once it’s available in Canada. As I reported a few weeks ago, the new DexKnows.com has a nice integration of Google Maps and Street View.