added a local search feature to its map tool
yesterday, part of its bid to establish itself
as the leader in the race to marry search
marketing with local businesses.
SmartView, the search tool returns listings
of local businesses when users call up a map.
SmartView gives six options for listings: food
and dining; recreation and entertainment;
community services; shopping; travel and
transportation; and financial and ATMs. Each
option has a menu of more specific categories.
and dining, for example, is divided into
cuisines. Clicking on a map listing gives the
business' address, phone number and links to
conduct a Web search for the business.
may prompt some new thinking about local
search," explained Greg Sterling, a local
search analyst for The Kelsey Group. "It's
a visual, nonlinear approach to local
likely will be just one aspect of how Yahoo
unites its local content with search, he said.
SmartView will be an option anytime a Yahoo user
calls up a map, including when an address is
entered into Yahoo's search engine. Yahoo Maps
received 15.5 million visitors in December,
according to comScore Media Metrix.
local listings generated are now free, culled
from Yahoo's yellow pages service and other
sources, with paid listings from Overture
Services at the bottom of the page based on the
category searched. Yahoo's Overture unit is
preparing the launch of a local search
advertising platform shortly that will match
advertisers with local customers based on a
user's location. Such listings could be
displayed on SmartView searches, targeted by
category and location.
Inn and Washington Mutual have sponsorships with
Yahoo to find their locations quickly on maps
through Yahoo's Business Locator program. Paul
Levine, general manager of Yahoo's local
services, said Yahoo could sell such
sponsorships in each category. He said Yahoo had
no immediate plans to let businesses pay to be
included in map listings.
constantly evaluating the right way to design
the product," he said. "For the map,
our goal is comprehensiveness. Over time, as we
think it adds value to consumers, we'd consider
said Yahoo would need to tread carefully in how
much prominence it gives advertisers over
businesses that have not paid.
dangerous territory for them because they want
to offer the best user experience they
can," he said. "There's a way that can
be done in an effective but restrained
last week, Yahoo introduced a paid inclusion
program for its search engine in which
advertisers can pay to have their Web pages
included in results. Though ranking in the
results is determined by relevancy, search
competitors Google and Ask Jeeves criticized
cost-per-click paid inclusion programs as an
inherent conflict of interest.
and Google are both keenly interested in tapping
the potentially enormous market for local search
advertising. The Kelsey Group estimates that the
market could be worth $2.5 billion in 2008 and
that already 25 percent of commercial searches
are for local information.
local search players are using map-based local
search. Verizon's redesigned SuperPages.com site
includes a map-based search tool that allows
keyword searches for local business information.
Google is testing its own local search platform
using mapping technology, called Search by
Location. Google's local search tool requires a
user to enter a search term and address, then
returns a map with local listings.
Singh, general manager of local search at
Google, said at a conference last week that the
search company plans to continue working on the
product this year. Search by Location does not
return advertiser listings.
local search platform, which a company
representative said would be released this
spring, would match local advertisers to nearby
customers by displaying listings within an
advertiser's set geographic radius. For example,
a pizzeria could set its preference to have its
listing shown only to searchers within five
miles of the store.
uses a variety of Yahoo content. For example,
hotel listings include user ratings and driving
directions from Yahoo Travel, and movie listings
display screening times and purchase options via
overall strategy for local is to leverage all
the assets that Yahoo has got," Levine
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