Online shoppers don’t begin locally

That’s the finding of a recent report by Outsell and reported in today’s Online Media Daily. This is despite the fact that most local newspaper and television Websites generally contain a plethora of (often useless) shopping and classifieds information.

“Consumers perceive that these sites don’t offer them enough useful buying information–and that’s perilous in a paid search world in which proximity to buying information makes ad placement more valuable,” warns the report.

…“Local publishers have had a tough time assembling the technology to match the easy usability that sites such as eBay and Craigslist have set as the Web standard,” the report states.

Meanwhile, local media companies tend to put resources towards their own attempts, because they can sell page views to ad agencies who don’t know any better. How long will this continue? Not long, because sooner or later, the advertisers themselves are going to start wanting results, and guess what? They’ll go to where the people are actually doing the shopping.

The bigger issue is this. People go to the big portals, because local entrepreneurs and venture capitalists have failed at building them for local markets. Attempts to do so have come from companies wishing to own every market, instead of just their own. This opens the door to significant possibilities for local media companies, but it generally doesn’t happen, because the media companies then try and drag their brands into the proposition. Besides, they’re too busy making big bucks selling traditional ads. One day, it will blow up in their faces.

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