YPC Goes Self-Serve With AdMission

AdMission Corp. has put out a press release touting its deal with YellowPages.com to provide tools that enable businesses to go to the IYP and build their own ads.

Self-provisioning is a big question mark in the IYP space. No doubt everyone in the space wishes it were possible to build a national online directory or local search business without needing thousands of sales reps. But the truth is most local businesses still need to be sold advertising. They buy very little of it on their own.

We think, however, that over time, more SMEs will seek out the places where they want to promote their businesses online, and quality self-provisioning tools will become increasingly important. YPC is wise to get out ahead of this with a partner like AdMission.

What is small change today could mean big bucks in a few years.

After the above was posted earlier today, our colleague Peter Krasilovsky talked to Leif Welch, AdMission’s VP of business development. Welch notes that YellowPages.com’s self-serve platform, based on AdMission’s Marketplace, has actually been up for roughly three weeks. Even without real promotion, it is seeing results well beyond internal projections.

Welch notes there are 18 versions of "The Ad Store" to accommodate different YellowPages.com markets, but each generally includes a free plan enabling "extended text descriptions that go beyond the standard InfoUSA profile"; and four paid packages (Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze). These may include extended text descriptions and varying levels of graphics and priority placement.

In Welch’s view, with self-serve in place, YellowPages.com is setting itself up to get deeper data about advertisers, which will be an especially important component to winning, or competing in, the search wars. "Businesses are submitting multiple listings with three, four, five profiles each," he says. "Profiles that match are going to be important as we move from category to keyword search."

Welch is also betting that self-serve's "low-cost advertiser acquisition plan" brings in incremental business, rather than just killing off upsells from unsuspecting loyal customers. "The whole environment for self-serve has changed tremendously over the past six months," he says.

But customizing The Ad Store for YellowPages.com wasn't an especially easy assignment. The partners that make up YellowPages.com — AT&T, BellSouth and YellowPages.com — "each had special needs," says Welch. "They also had variations in regional pricing, payment pricing and their ad packages varied." There were also some union issues. And while there are 18 different versions, all of them have to roll up transparently for administrative purposes. "The work flow is the same," he says.

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