I was just reading comScore’s study into US national Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) search activity. Their findings revealed some major changes, and staggering numbers, among the top sites in 2007, mainly due to new, strategic partnerships. The IYP search market leader in Q4 2007 was Yellowpages.com Network, which forged multiple partnerships this year with sites including Areaguides.net and 411.com, helping them take the top position in total IYP searches.
Internet Yellow Pages usage in 2007 grew to 17.2 billion searches, up from 16.7 billion in 2006. "In the highly competitive IYP search market, partnerships played a significant role in determining the 2007 landscape," said Serge Matta, senior vice president of comScore. "Yellowpages Network was one of the key beneficiaries of this strategy, since partnerships helped it secure a leading position in the market."
According to comScore analysis and findings:
• Yellowpages.com Network (20.2% share) edged out Superpages.com Network (20.0% share) in Q4 2007 to lead the IYP search market.
• Like Yellowpages, Superpages’ new partnerships provided a boost to its search activity, with the new Local.com relationship and the Infospace FindIt/Switchboard.com acquisition contributing to its gains.
• However, Superpages discontinued its affiliation with both 411.com and MSN Yellowpages, offsetting the positive impact of the new relationships.
• Although Superpages registered an increased number of total searches in 2007, it did not grow as fast as the market, and as a result its share fell slightly.
• Certain top IYP providers experienced growth in 2007 by capitalizing on changes in their partner and affiliate relationships:
o Yellow Book Network, which more than doubled its share from 4% to nearly 9%, benefited in part from its new relationship with Addresses.com.
o Microsoft Sites recorded an increase in IYP searches after it began redirecting searches to Microsoft Maps beginning in December, subsequent to the dissolution of its partnership with Superpages.
When you consider the following US usage Data:
• Average number of monthly IYP searchers up 16 percent: 73 million IYP
searchers per month in 2007, compared to 63.1 million IYP searchers per
month in 2006. (comScore)
• Of the 144 million people performing local searches online in December
2007, over half (51 percent) used IYPs. (comScore)
The future for IYP continues to look bright. The Kelsey Group forecasts IYP revenues will grow from US$3.7 billion to US$9.2 billion by 2012. Yes the industry is fragmented; however they continue to transform their business model and make some surprising, yet effective, acquisitions. In addition, they are testing other ways to increase online share by expanding the product mix to become more of a one-stop ( print, online, video and mobile) shop for local advertising.