Google’s local revenue pursuit

While local media companies continue to ponder the next content move to stay “current,” whether that’s online, mobile or both, Internet pureplay companies continue to eat their lunch where it matters: growing local revenue opportunities. That’s what’s really behind news today that Google is in talks to acquire popular local business review site, Yelp.

Michael Arrington at TechCrunch spells it out.

Google is building out their own directory of local businesses with its Place Pages, which can be accessed via Google Maps and local search. They are encouraging local businesses to put Google-branded stickers in store windows and recently added their own ratings summaries to business profiles. Yelp, of course, already has all of this data, along with a growing and active audience of consumers who are used to finding (and rating) businesses on Yelp.

Knowing that consumer reviews are an ideal mobile platform for commerce, Google will pay a reported half-billion dollars and, in concert with its other local applications, will have a lock on perhaps the biggest potential local online and local commerce enabler in the world.

This will suck more dollars from local media companies (Yelp’s annual revenue is already in the $30–50 million range, and some of that money merchants used to spend with traditional media companies), while we’re still busy trying to figure out the best way to get our content out to everybody.

Let me repeat: the business of media is advertising, not content.

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