Google targets $100 billion Yellow Pages industry?

Is Google in the market for directory assets?


The worldwide Yellow Pages industry is valued in excess of $100 Billion, according to “Global Yellow Pages™ 2005: The Kelsey Group’s Outlook & Forecast.”

Earlier today, I signaled Google Search Results Pages (SERPs) are returning prominent, enhanced, top-of-the-page “Yellow Pages Style” listings for individual business lookups and put forth a possible “Google Yellow Pages” strategy unfolding in Google Yellow Pages? Google SERPs map enhanced local directory listings.”

The strength of a traditional Yellow Pages publisher is its vast sales force network of “feet on the street” calling upon local small businesses. A “feet on the street” sales strategy does not come cheap, but it is often what is necessary to reach, and acquire, local merchant accounts.

While Google’s advertiser self-provisioning system is cost-effective, it has not been overwhelmingly adopted by the millions of small businesses in the U.S.

Verizon partnered with Google earlier this year to marry its “sales channel opportunities with Google's vast advertising network," as reported by CNET.

In announcing the deal, Eric Chandler, president of the Internet division at Verizon, said:

Verizon sends sales representatives out to businesses to sell them advertising that will appear in print and online, something Google and other big Internet companies don't have the resources to do.

Reuters reports on the deal indicated:

SuperPages is part of the Verizon Information Services division, a $3.5 billion business that provides yellow pages and shopping information in print form, on the Internet and via wireless carriers. SuperPages alone has about 16 million businesses listed.

On July 7, Verizon Communications Inc. announced:

the filing of a Form 10 registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in a step toward a proposed spin-off of Verizon’s domestic print and Internet yellow pages directories to its stockholders…

the company continues to expect to complete a disposition of its directories publishing operations -- which could include the spin-off, a sale or other transaction, or combination of these alternatives -- by the end of 2006. In December 2005, Verizon had announced that it was reviewing strategic alternatives for these operations.

Will Google express strategic interest in Verizon's directories publishing opreations?


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