free html hit counter Why Yahoo, Interactive, and Google Love Local Search ... - John Battelle's Search Blog

Why Yahoo, Interactive, and Google Love Local Search …

By - December 23, 2003

Because it’s poised to grow to nearly $3 billion in revenues by 2008, up from about $1 billion now. And because the mass of small business owners who currently don’t use search would certainly switch if presented a compelling solution that actually brings in customers. Can you imagine your corner grocery store or dry cleaner buying keyword search? Me too. Move over, Yellow Pages….

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One thought on “Why Yahoo, Interactive, and Google Love Local Search …

  1. I think this may cut in two separate directions (and am working on making one part of it happen)… I think there will be a difference between the advertising of *things*, and of services.

    Unlike services, physical objects have an effective scheme for naming, originally with item-level product codes (UPCs, and their counterparts in Europe and elsewhere) and, in future, with the naming scheme being developed for Electronic Product Codes (EPCs) and RFID. Not all physical objects, of course–that hand-thrown mug that Aunt Tillie made you for Christmas is unique, but doesn’t fit into the unique naming scheme for general commerce–but much that consumers will be seeking.

    What I believe we’ll see in future is an opening up of the supply chain, to allow for more ability of Joe and Jane Consumer to find those named things. Rather than spend the time (mine and theirs) to call around to find out if my local stores might have Joe Jackson’s “Look Sharp!,” or pay for shipping (and wait a few days) to get it off Amazon, why couldn’t I just fire off a few bytes, and have that matched against all those local inventories? Every store in my area who carries it knows they have an instance of “075021318724” (the album’s UPC) if they’ve automated their inventory… why not open up those internal systems, to allow for my inquiry to verify that they’ve got what I’m looking for?

    There’s a bit of work to be done to make it all happen, but it needn’t inconvenience the end consumer (who’ll never need to actually know product codes… just like you don’t need to know the ISBNs of the books you seek out on Amazon, though if you look in your browser’s Location field you’ll see ’em), or much change the retailers, who’ll merely need to spit out their existing inventory data, to facilitating partners.