Interchange Improves Local Search Platform

Local paid-search service provider Interchange on Wednesday debuted enhancements to its Local Direct geographically targeted search platform.

Local Direct, which debuted in March, is a service for Internet Yellow Pages sites and Yellow Pages publishers that combines Interchange’s paid-search technology with a database of business listings. The platform enables publishers to sell cost-per-click advertising products to their own advertisers under their own brand.

Local Direct is powered by the company’s Keyword DNA technology, which maps billions of keywords to over 10 million U.S. business listings. The latest enhancements add capabilities to search for products and services near U.S. landmarks, to receive search results vie email, to track and resolve failed search terms, and to direct statewide searches to the most populous city.

“We continue to refine our Local Direct search and advertising platform to improve the user search experience and provide publishers and local businesses with the opportunity to participate in paid-search and connect with consumers on the local level,” said Scott Wessler, Interchange product development director.

Searchable landmarks include airports, stadiums, historical landmarks, shopping centers and universities. Searches can be made for a product or business name near a landmark, such as “sushi near Yankee Stadium”. The platform also recognizes zip codes, area codes and other location modifiers.

In order to continually improve the results of Local Direct searches, Interchange reviews all failed searches in order to match them to the correct business listings for future searches.

Local search has been a hot arena lately, with search giants Google and Yahoo each making inroads into the largely untapped market.

According to the latest Jupiter Research Paid Search Forecast, local search marketing will generate $502 million in 2004, or 19 percent of the total search marketing spend.

An Interchange spokesman declined further comment for this story, citing SEC “quiet period” regulations surrounding the company’s pending IPO, which was filed in June.

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