More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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<img src="" alt="yahoo local" title="yahoo local" width="120" alt="KW" align="left" hspace="5" /> Given Marissa Mayers 'Local' roots at Google, I was wondering how she'd handle Local at Yahoo. And given the problems that Google Local has always had, I seriously wondered if she'd even want to go there.

I could picture her going either way. Either thinking "Don't want to go down that convoluted road again." OR thinking, "Here is a big opportunity to do local right and make it better." Well looks like she's decided NOT to go down that road, at least for now.

Yesterday Yahoo released its Q3 financials and Business Insider took live notes from the conference call. Below is what Marissa had to say about local.

LIVE: Marissa Mayer Posts Big Profit Growth During First Quarter At Yahoo - Business Insider

5:34 – Analyst wants to know why Yahoo isn't focusing on local. Mayer says it's very hard to do it well. That it requires a lot of people and a lot of time. Our local offerings are good at the moment. It's hard to take that next step to provide even deeper functionality. Not an area where we planned to invest moving forward.

Matt McGee over at SearchEngineLand reported that while "search" will remain a core focus, local will not.

Mayer: Yahoo Not Planning To Invest In Local Search Right Now

“I really do love [local], but it requires a deep investment, a lot of energy and time to build terrific listings. We already have some products in this area. They’re good at the moment, but it’s hard to take that next step. We don’t expect to make changes in the short term. It’s not an area where we’re going to make significant investments right now.”

What do you think? Surprised? Relieved? Disappointed?
I can't say I blame Yahoo for the decision. Google has proven that even with massive resources to bring it's awful hard to do Local well. Offering free information to consumers on businesses that is accurate is hard enough. Adding in dynamic content like reviews and other consumer-generated content must be a database nightmare. Google is failing miserably at trying to control the quality of the content generated by the business owners, the net result being that the consumers won't be able to find the information they want, decimating the potential advertising model.

Google is risking making Local+ a real ghost town. The business reviews that are available right now are not at all credible because they haven't learned how to control that system. Without credible reviews consumers won't rely on Google for information and will keep going to Yelp and Angie's list. Yelp and Angie's list must be loving these struggles!

I have started setting up my listings on Bing Local. The back-end dashboard is very easy to use and they let me actually tell them where my business is located and how consumers can reach me. That's cool, but I don't have any faith that MS/Bing can drive the traffic Google does. How do I know how much time and money to put into Bing when there is no way to tell what it will produce? On the other hand Google still hasn't driven real local traffic to Local+ so all the time I've invested there has been nearly for naught. The only hope is that it is supporting organic ranking on straight results pages.

Yelp seems to have real traffic, and with Apple officially announcing partnership, and Bing using Yelp as their review engine it's looking like Yelp has the edge right now. Could Yahoo make a play in that shark's tank? What would be the hook they could use to capture real shopping traffic?

As I write I am noticing that while the resources demanded by the platform and functionality are huge, it's all just so many computers cycling around until consumers show up. The winner will have the marketing savvy to bring the consumers and then win their hearts. Google had it for a while, now they are acting like Microsoft in the 90s. Can Yelp save us, or will Yahoo be the dark horse that saves us from the tangled mess Google has barfed all over Yelp's idea? What will Facebook and LinkedIn do? Nah.... nevermind. Anyone got any serious venture capital money? I think there's a business need here that Google is barfing all over, Yelp is to narrow to capture, Microsoft is to big and arthritic to move into and Yahoo lacks the money or agility to capture. This is clearly not Apple's domain. Is this a market up for grabs? Where's Tom Watson and IBM when you need them?
Thanks for your detailed thoughts on this Joe! I agree.

And in Google's defense, I do realize that categorizing and managing the world's data can't be easy! But it sure seems a company as big as Google with the most and the brightest engineers in the world, could do better. They need to!

Was kinda hoping Yahoo would at least try to give them a run for their money because it's often competition that forces change, but alas, sounds like that's not going to happen. At least not anytime soon.
I don't have anything useful or insightful to add...sorry:p I just want to know when Yahoo! officially They haven't been relevant in I don't know how many years.

Travis Van Slooten
Yahoo could collapse, it's true. And it would be a shame leaving so little competition in the search space. Are we destined for a world of colossus monopolies? Will Google or MS-Bing buy all those Excite/Yahoo email accounts?

Even as much as Yahoo has become an irrelevant also-ran with a murky advertising platform that is more irritating than anything, it has a huge asset of email subscribers. AOL is even less relevant, but their subscribers are loyal. AOL and Yahoo subscribers seem to even be contrary to allowing Google into their lives.

And then there is this gaping hole in the market for a solid local web search and advertising platform. Yelp has proven there is a market for it, but lacks the subscriber base to make it potent. Google sees the market but can't coordinate itself to do anything effective or useful and Yahoo is jumping ship.

There has to be a way to do this better! Patch (and others) is trying to approach it from the local news angle but it is obviously ineffective. Yellow Pages had a good brand name once but that withered with the break up of Ma Bell. It seems a merger of the Yellow Pages' L-O-N-G legacy in local advertising and Yahoo/AOL's loyal base could be a way to get some leverage while Google thrashes around like a whale in the swimming pool.

I am no qualified analyst of any sort, just a small business manager wishing for a way to leverage the web in a way that feels healthier than just appeasing Frankenstein's monster.
Thanks for the info.

I just don't see what's so hard about getting local right. I think they're both taking the wrong approach, but what do I know?

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