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I saw this item on, which reports that Google may be pursuing an acquisition of Yell Group, the UK-based company that operates Yell in the UK and Yellow Book in the US.

We do not yet know whether this is substantive or pure speculation that has taken on a life of its own. We hope to find out soon enough. What adds some weight to the rumor is Google’s existing relationship with Yell in the UK.

What we do know is that a deal like this makes sense, at least on paper. Google has a powerful online brand, vast organic traffic and the ability to rapidly deploy new technologies. Yell Group, solves the "last mile" problem for search engines moving into local. Yellow Book is uniquely attractive because of its wide geographic coverage, and Yell is ubiquitous in the UK.

So theoretically, this makes sense. Whether it will happen remains to be seen.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. google is already getting the data from some of tne YP publishers, the real opportunity in buying a publisher is access to a broadbased sales force.

  2. Google Local could become much more competitive with online yellow page directories if they were basing their listings off of an organized data source (such as one they would acquire from Yell Group), as opposed to the scraping they're doing now.

  3. I would tend to argue against it: Google has historically said it doesn't want to take on the complexity of managing a vast infrastructure and the many small advertiser relationships that would come with such an acquisition.

    However, that protest is fading quickly into the background. The Trader Classifieds rumor, the move into print and this now suggest that Google will make some sort of offline acquisition to broaden and strengthen its revenue base at some point in the not-too-distant future, even if it's not Yell.

    But who knows.

  4. Because of the database buying and feeds Google is getting (e.g., Verizon, Citysearch, InsiderPages, etc.) Google has BETTER local data, arguably, than anyone else online.

    What they don't have is a great user experience, though it's gotten much better. Adding more structure to the user experience, as Yahoo has done, would bring to light the scope and quality of the data they do have.

    Sales force is an oppty. But I think a better strategy for Google is to buy a channel like a Web host, which could instantly give the company 200K+ potential SME customers.

    That would be more cost effective and in a certain way more efficient over the long term than buying a lot of headcount (though valuable).

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