Here’s an oddball local ad deal if ever there was one. Local.com announced this morning it will “acquire” 14,000 small business customers from Live Deal. Live Deal itself will not be sold, but rather will surrender management of those customer listings to Local.com, which will charge them about $33 per month for listings on Local.com and other sites.
While certainly unique and inventive on Local.com’s part, the arrangement doesn’t speak well for how small businesses perceive some online marketing opportunities. The fact that Live Deal is able to transfer customers to another company in a straight cash deal (up to $3.1 million, to be completed this month) suggests those marketers — presuming they go along with it — don’t much care how their marketing fees are spent on the Web. Perhaps this won’t come as news to those who know how beleaguered (and frankly Web-ignorant) many regional business owners are, but if they are so blithely willing to be foisted off on a new ad management partner, then the value they perceive from the interactive channel is arguably lower than local digital ad boosters might have hoped.
For Local.com, the deal brings its customer count to 30,000, a big step toward its goal of amassing 50,000 local business advertisers by the end of the year.
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