Mobile 411: Another win for the portals?

A new report by market research firm The Kelsey Group is more bad news for local media companies. According to Online Media Daily, Google, Yahoo and MSN will become major players in mobile voice search after entering the directory assistance market by mid-2007.

The Internet giants will use mobile directory service as a means of launching new “opt-in” marketing businesses that will pose a serious challenge to traditional and free 411 services as well as the Yellow Pages, predicts Kelsey. The study estimates that more than half of Yellow Pages look-ups could be at risk with the entrance of big Internet companies into mobile voice search over the next several years.
So once again, we have the pure play internet giants reaching into the local communities to extract advertising revenue, and if this really works (it does in England), the sucking sound of all that money leaving town will be deafening. Who do you think will advertise in this space? People who used to spend money (in some cases exclusively) with us.

Those of us in local media (and I’m speaking in the broadest possible terms) are locked into a devolving world that is rapidly crumbling as we circle the wagons rather than jump on the offensive. In the Media 2.0 world, which is where these pure play portals exist, opportunity abounds in a space governed by information databases. We simply cannot continue to sit back and let outside companies take revenue that could be (and I think should be) ours.

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