The big phone companies have been scrambling for a couple years now to figure out how to keep hold of the huge profits that they derive from Yellow Page advertising.
The big search engines have been busy launching local search portals and figuring out how to get into the local directory business.
Local businesses are finding a new source of search engine traffic as well. (Hint: Get listed – It’s free!) At the present the Search engines seem to be taking businesses that are listed for a category and scoring them based primarily on inbound links – Another great reason to focus on relevant links to your site.
Business week reported today that SBC-Bell South have entered into a deal with AOL to try and take on the search giants.
From the Business Week report:
“The fight over who will control the $15 billion U.S. commercial directory business as it moves online will intensify tomorrow. BusinessWeek Online has learned that BellSouth (BLS ) and SBC Communications (SBC ) have reached an agreement to supply Yellow Pages listings to AOL (TWX ), including its flagship U.S. online service and AOL.com portal”.
AOL may actually be fighting for their life on this one. Local Search is growing in leaps and bounds while Online Yellow Page growth is pretty flat. AOL needs Search to shore up its online Yellow Pages If they can’t make a foothold here, they may be out of business.