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Geo-tagging is becoming a significant part of the local ecosphere and is a very popular feature on Yahoo!'s Flickr service, according to Yahoo! Local GM Paul Levine, who spoke at SES Local on Sept. 28 in Denver. Levine said that up to 10 million Flickr photos have already been geo-tagged since its introduction.

Geo-tagged photos are being used in other ways by Yahoo!. Levine noted, for instance, that they play a vital role in several of the new vertical sites being developed under the Yahoo! Local collection, such as "Late Night Eats," "Fly Fishing Resources Bay Area," etc.

Levine said the next challenge for Yahoo! Local is to geo-reference photos from cellphones. Y! Labs is currently developing methods using cell tower triangulation and other methods to enable photos to be geo-positioned and posted. Presumably, this will also have implications for Wi-Fi as well (and maybe even cut down on the rubbernecking that occurs after a car crash).

Separately, Levine gave some updates on Yahoo Local's reach, noting that it now covers 80,000 ZIP codes and offers 60,000 city pages. It also has broken out 600 neighborhoods — a "next frontier" for local marketing that Yellow Pages companies like and are addressing by syndicating the neighborhood breakouts of

On the sales front, Levine emphasized that Yahoo! Local continues to rely heavily on sales channel partners, such as the Yellow Pages companies. It has at least 12. At the same time, many small businesses are beginning to approach Yahoo! directly. Levine said that more than 1,000 businesses in each of 25 categories have initiated advertising directly from Yahoo!. It makes me think that Yahoo!’s reliance on third-party sales channels might not last forever.

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