By sschablow June 17, 2011
This week David Mihm wrote (with credit to Linda Buquet) about finding city-specific directories that Google is quietly working on in apparent preparation for a national rollout. They found city portals that mirror Google’s Offers/Places launches: Austin, TX | Portland, OR | Madison, WI | San Diego, CA
What does this all mean? Well for starters, Google would advance it’s dominent position in search, create the perfect platform for local social networks, and now will more firmly plant its local marketing flag on the web.
The city portals neatly package many of their local initiatives like Places Pages, interior location photos, Maps, Offers, Mobile apps, local Events into one easy-to-use directory. What catches my attention is the ease with which local businesses will be able to take advantage of the new platform, both with free entries and premium paid features and promotions. It also looks like each city will have a community manager for the portal along with a local blog.
The recurring comments I’ve heard on this subject have universally been, “What took them so long?” Only time will tell how these city portals will be accepted and how they will evolve. One thing is certain, this has to be making some executives at Yelp, CitySearch, Online Yellow Pages, Yellow Book and others lose a little sleep. My biggest question is how will this affect popular local and hyper-local sites, many of whom are struggling to grow in the current economy? Oh, and WHERE IS FACEBOOK? Do they have plans in the works as well?
What do you think? Leave a comment or start a discussion. Or drop me a line and let’s talk about how I can help your business take advantage of these advances and future features.