Friday, January 12, 2007

The Growth of Social Features in Local Marketing

People have always used word of mouth or "social networks" to find the hot spots in dining, entertainment, and retail. The internet can make finding those social networks and opinions as easy as doing a local search. YahooLocal has taken a proactive approach and added numerous features to expand the social impacts of advertising.

"As it has done in other areas of its network, Yahoo has recently been putting more of an emphasis on social media and user-generated content in its local search product.
"We're spending a lot of time thinking about social media at Yahoo. We want to add value to users and merchants by having user contributions," Frazier Miller, director of product management at Yahoo Local, told Search Engine Watch.
Yahoo began pushing user-generated content in its local search in 2005, when it expanded its city and neighborhood pages and expanded its ratings and reviews. Social features came to the fore again in September 2006, when it added "collections" of user-generated lists, such as "The Bay Area for Kids," a collection Miller created while researching outings with his family. "Like it or not, UGC is here to stay, and it will soon become a standard feature of local search, online shopping and even IYPs," Mike Boland, senior analyst at the Kelsey Group, recently wrote in his blog. "One argument in favor of local UGC forums is that they not only represent a relatively inexpensive (when compared with professional reviews) sources of content, but also possess a certain appeal in the inherent trust perceived among users of peer-written reviews and community interaction."

Read more about the continuing push for more features.....

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