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Industry Players Weigh Business Models for Mobile Search

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The always hot topic of mobile search was discussed this afternoon during the session “Mobile Search and Yellow Pages: The Business Model”, moderated by Mike Boland, Senior Analyst and Program Director, Mobile Local Media at BIA Kelsey.

Following yesterday’s discussion of mobile apps, today’s session took a deeper look into the business of mobile local search.  Panelists discussed what their companies are doing in this space, and offered insights into how their businesses are operating and monetizing mobile local search.

Deborah Eldred, director of mobile and personalization at R.H. Donnelley, highlighted the explosion of smart phone growth and the increased reach of mobile Web. More and more people are accessing the Web on their mobile devices, and Deborah explained that “mobile makes sense for local search companies.” It drives engagement and leads, and brings sellers customers that are ready to buy, and ready to buy right now.

Peter Schwab, director, mobile products at Idearc Media, shared his top ten list for what Idearc is doing to drive revenue with their mobile products. Peter emphasized the importance of experimenting as mobile grows.  He suggested that mobile apps giving users a voice, such as the ability to add reviews from the mobile device not just read them.

Min Chan, GM and director mobile products at AT&T Interactive, shared his strategy for engaging consumers, stating that systems must be built around the themes of content, context, and contact.  Contact is important and can be achieved by offering the capability to share information or reach out to businesses directly

Rounding out the panel was David Pearce, head of mobile services, Yell Group, which brought an international perspective. He emphasized that “mobile is now a mainstream digital channel and mobile local search will be more than a search box.” David discussed the power of using an app store. Only one week after Yell’s app went up on the UK iTunes app store, it was the top free app in its category and had garnered 90,00 searches.

The mobile local search space is clearly a valuable and exciting opportunity for business to take advantage of.  YP is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this space, and can provide real value to both advertisers and consumers by connecting buyers and sellers immediately.

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