The Big Portals’ Battle For Local

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The local space is heating up, with the number of hyperlocal news startups growing by the month and the big-three portals also doubling down. Given their big traffic numbers and financial might, it’s with the big portals that things could get interesting. AOL (NYSE: TWX), MSN and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) have all talked loudly about wanting to attract a bigger share of local online advertising dollars — a market that is expected to grow 12 percent this year alone. But the big players are going about it in different ways. Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Yahoo are both building pages that customize aggregated information depending on a user’s location, while AOL is also going for original content.

Below, a look at what each company offers, what it is promising for the future, and where it could run into trouble.

MSN:

Approach: U.S. MSN Executive Producer Scott Moore tells us the local space is still too patchwork.

3 Comments

gordonborrell

Terrific topic! “Local” may be the only advertising growth opportunity left for Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL and Google (which you omitted, but I would still classify it as a portal). I have a much different take on Yahoo, however. It has jumped headlong into the local space with partnerships with newspapers that involve content and cross-selling. Very interesting growth in this area. We’re tackling the issue at our conference in NYC in February in a afternoon-long session called “Partnering with the Portals.” I think you’ll see more and more of these types of local media partnership deals (as opposed to the portals trying to go it alone, which I don’t think will work at all).

matthewhurst

The most recent version of Bing Maps, which has a rich, application layer, already includes hyperlocal blog content. The app is called Local Lens.

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