™ has raised some industry eyebrows lately and is now taking local search to the mainstream. They have just launched a year-long TV and online media campaign to show their authority on "where to go" when you need something locally.

The ads are humorous, yet to-the-point captions of people performing everyday functions that are just "missing" something (my favorite is the guy riding his daughter's bicycle into a parking garage). The theme "Need Something?" is followed by a simple search query and a message stating "We wrote the book on local search".

Since the ads are projected to be seen by millions of consumers, the premise is to increase brand awareness, and thus increase value to potential advertisers. Will this be an good advertising opportunity for local and small businesses? As a joint venture between AT&T and BellSouth, the budget is certainly there to make the opportunity enticing.

As noted in our October, 2005 article, the majority of Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs) competing in the local search market have leveraged search engine placement as a selling feature. This helps their sales force in selling IYP advertisements. can now sell their TV campaign as a way to build brand awareness for potential advertisers.

Similar to other IYPs, pages are crawlable and visible in localized search queries. They also realize that search engines don't have to just be a competitor. They can be a strategic business alliance. Just last month, it was announced that and Yahoo! Local would enter a partnership. This will allow certain advertisers to be visible in Yahoo! Local search engine listings. This is something the TV ads don't mention.

The Kesley Group reports RHD (R.H. Donnelley Corp.) has now merged with Dex Online and rumors that they could possibly join forces with This would make them a predominant online brand for their print counterparts.

Between the new TV and media campaign, recent partnerships and their proactive search engine efforts, they are now a surprise player in the local search field. Are they worth it for your local business advertising dollars? It's at least worth it to browse their site and judge for yourself. They'll certainly be around for awhile.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

February 2, 2006

Paul Jahn is the owner of Localmn Interactive Marketing, a Minnesota-based Internet marketing company. Localmn focuses on helping local companies large and small leverage the most out of their search marketing campaigns depending on their respective needs, including SEO, PPC, local search, and social media campaigns. Paul also runs and contributes to the Localmn local search blog.

With over ten years of Internet marketing experience, Paul has particular expertise in search marketing, with extensive knowledge of local search.

Search Engine Guide > Paul Jahn > Takes Local Search Mainstream