Last month I blogged about the death of the Yellow Pages being premature. The next day, R.H. Donnelley continued its aggressive online push by acquiring Business.com for $345 million.
The YP Sales Force will sell targeted listings that will appear in the "sponsor results" section of Yahoo! Local, which permits users to search for businesses and services in a certain geographic region. So a Plumber that purchased Yahoo! Local ads through their local YP Sales Rep would appear in the "sponsor results" section when a user searches for Plumbers in that city. The partnership includes Yahoo! Maps as well as Yahoo! Local. Yahoo! Local attracts 30 million unique visitors in the U.S. each month.
This also joins other deals that have been formed in the past, such as that between Superpages and Google. I believe that you can expect directories and IYPs to increasingly develop online distribution and better ad bundling efforts.
The new addition gives the local YP sales channel another tool in its tool belt, one that advertisers are increasingly asking for, for a better cross-platform product. As the Kelsey Group predicted in March, IYPs will see a greater CAGR than the aggregate local search market, because of their physical sales channel, and the ability to execute more effectively on cross platform sales strategies.
Today, no one outside the directory industry utters the word "sexy" in the same breath as "Yellow Pages" unless, of course, they were referring to the Paris Hilton commercial for the German Yellow Pages, however publishers continue to play their greatest card, their experienced and profitable General Sales Force, to redefine their model in order to make it just that - sexy!
Therefore, Investors and Advertisers start taking note, Google, Yahoo! and yours truly already have!