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Yellow Book announced today that it has acquired Click Forward, a Coral Gables, Florida-based search engine marketing company. Terms were not disclosed. Yellow Book plans to use the assets gained through the acquisition to develop a local search product to sell through its more than 5,000 local sales representatives.

This deal is in keeping with Yellow Book’s recent push to elevate its digital strategy to a higher level. The publisher has been accused by some in the investment community of paying too little attention to digital as it pursues growth opportunities in the traditional business. This acquisition certainly helps Yellow Book break out of the perception that it is all about print.

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  1. The wait is over. The starting gun has been fired. The competitors have gotten out of the gate in the "local search race". The long anticipated rush to bring local businesses online (and capture the local search dollars) looks to have "officially" started.

    I’m not referring to IYP, local micro-sites or portals, I’m talking about PPC advertising within the big boys; primarily Y! & Google. I’m talking about substantial advertising dollars being invested in online search, primarily from local businesses and Yellow Pages advertisers. The New York City market has now begun to experience the inevitable shift to online advertising. The earliest players ( were rewarded by capturing the initial local search dollars – but there’s much more where that came from! Yellow Book and others are now realizing this.

    Local NYC based SME’s are being actively prospected by more than three separate sales forces representing search engine advertising products. Their inclusive approaches are all similar, as are the product bundles. Budget buys with detailed reports, click/call/email ROI-based tracking and easy to understand pitches are becoming commonplace. I suspect other primary Metros like Chicago, LA, SF, Boston and Philly are also about to experience this wave as well.

    In the past two months there have been at least half a dozen announcements and product launches, two this past week alone (Berry and Marchex). Google and Yahoo! must be loving this.

    The next 24-36 months will be a very exciting time for our industry – I’m convinced we are now witnessing the beginning of the local search evolution on a substantial scale… let the games begin!

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