A few questions have been floating around on other blogs lately, namely about Yahoo and our exit strategy. I thought I'd clear up a few of the questions.
Were you aware of Yahoo! Local Listings as you developed your product?
We were very aware of Yahoo Local when we created the product.---How could anyone miss the ads in the Wall Street Journal trying to get people to use it. But serious, we believe that bringing the Yahoo inventory and visibility opportunity to our Merchants is an important part of our solution. As you noted, we already make sure our pages are being picked up by the search engines since this where were Local Consumers often first enter the Local Internet.
Part of our current paid programs includes Yahoo Search marketing. We continue to work to expand this with Yahoo and other sources of great opportunities to be visible on the Local Internet for our Local Merchants. Paul Levine and his team at Yahoo are doing some great things. We hope to continue to expand that dialogue so that when we bring 5M merchants online, Yahoo is part of that solution.
What's your exit strategy?
Our goal is simple, we want to bring every small merchant online. Every small merchant from Mom and Daughter carpet cleaners who can't afford the Yellow Pages, to the corner Pizza joint who is wasting money on an ad in a book that in a couple of years no one is going to open. We want to do it because it creates an enormous opportunity for Local Merchants to use their one advantage that Starbucks and Wal-Mart, they are Local and they understand and value the Local Community. We don't think about exit strategy (ok so maybe late at night- say 3am when we are trying to get to sleep), we think about getting to every local merchant from Soldotna to Fairhope.