Online Local Search Phone Directory Being Sold

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

InfoSpace has announced that they will be selling their online phone directory service, Switchboard.com to Dallas company Idearc, for $225 million in cash.

InfoSpace, the Seattle-based provider of online search and directory services, made the announcement last Monday, that they had agreed to sell the switchboard.com directory to Idearc, who owns superpages.com and publishes the Verizon Yellow Pages.

InfoSpace homepageInfoSpace owns a number of online directory properties such as DogPile.com, WebCrawler.com, and MetaCrawler.com. All of the sites currently have an impressive Google page rank of 8. Switchboard.com primarily promotes itself online as a yellow pages, white pages, and maps directory, although the web site provides other services. The web site’s home page currently focuses on helping consumers locate local businesses, a market space that’s been showing significant growth over the past year.

Visiting the web site, a quick search for “Lawyer in Chicago” brings up directory listings of attorneys in the Illinois Metro area. The web site currently features several sources of advertising, including sponsored ads that are appearing at the top of general directory search results, which switchboard refers to as “Featured Sites.” Traditional banner advertising was also appearing down the right sidebar, for businesses such as Discover Card, when I performed the attorney search.

From a search engine optimization perspective, the deal could be a great one for Idearc, owner of Superpages. I performed a Google search for Chicago lawyers which presented a superpages yellow page directory listing in the first organic non paid position. Great work by the SEO team for superpages. That success could easily be duplicated for the switchboard web site, which holds a number of popular natural listings for many local business terms, hundreds being locally based chiropractor business terms.

The sale will provide a significant amount of cash to the Seattle-based InfoSpace, with the company getting to unload a valuable asset at a high premium. InfoSpace had acquired switchboard.com in 2004 for the sum of $160 million. The companies expected to focus on its other search sites and mobile services businesses, including cell phone services such as ring tones, games and mobile phone search applications.

The local search industry is more vast than most people may realize. As consumers, we often focus only on those industries we are accustomed to, such as chiropractic. But local search is popular for a mind-boggling number of services ranging from local dog boarding services to in-house medical services. Depending on their needs, consumers are searching for terms related to services for their pets, such as Las Vegas Dog Grooming, San Diego Boarding Services, Santa Monica Cat Kennels, to search terms related to the elderly, such as Cleveland Adult Home Care, Dallas Nursing Homes, Boise Assisted-Living, and Massapequa Senior Housing.

What do you search for locally?

planetc1.com-news @ 10:52 pm | Article ID: 1190872377