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Debating 2017: What Local Search Looks Like

Charles Laughlin presented Matt Booth from BIA/Kelsey and Matt Stover from SuperMedia predictions for 2017 and debated their potential reality.

In 2017, there is only one print directory per major market; in the five largest cities, there are only emergency services guides.

  • Booth: “There will still be at least two in most major markets … some markets that have four or five will go to two.”
  • Stover: “Theme over next four or five years is personalization … we’ll be delivering the content in whatever form they want.”

In 2017, AT&T, SuperMedia, Berry, and Dex One have combined; Yellowbook remains independent but sold to a private equity firm and renamed “Yellow.”

  • Stover: “All of these companies today are much more in the business today of helping small and medium businesses being successful … This [prediction] is a pretty limited or inside our industry view.  I would think much more creatively on where assets might wind up over the next five years.”

In 2017, Google will have built out a national sales channel.

  • Booth: “This without a doubt is going to happen, but whether it happens by 2017, I don’t know … But it’s absolutely this is going to happen.
  • Stover: “I suspect it’s not going to be a Google-owned channel, but it’s going to be the people who are best at connecting with local businesses.”

In 2017, publishers are the largest sellers of websites to SMBs by a wide margin

  • Booth:  “People that have the largest deployed sales forces in the country have the opportunity to take a large share of this type of business.”

In 2017, the proliferation of non-crawlable data has made search engines less dominant

  • Booth:  “There’s already examples of this happening … Instagram, Pinterest …  Search engines will still be important, but there’s going to be a whole ecosystem that exists outside the reach of web crawlers.”

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