Local.com is offering free search listings for local businesses and will soon begin selling specialized placements within search results for a flat annual fee. The ads will be visible to users of the company’s new Local Verified service.
Local businesses will soon have the option of paying a flat $249 yearly fee for placement at the top of search results for a local query. But those businesses will have to meet a set of requirements to prove they are upstanding, according to Jennifer Black, vice president of marketing for Local.com.
“It’s not just that you want to be at the top, but you have to have a good reputation with the Better Business Bureau,” she said. “You can’t have any complaints.”
While premium placement will be available to all businesses looking to promote themselves to a local market, Black hopes larger corporations with multiple locations, such as a restaurant chain or car rental agencies, will find using Local.com premium listings more cost effective than placing local keyword buys with Google or Yahoo.
“Pay inclusion on Yahoo is .10 to .15 cents a click, but this is a flat fee,” said Black. “There is more out there than Google and Yahoo. There are other venues out there at better pricing.”
Local Verified will become available on May 1. This week at ad:tech in San Francisco, Local.com launched its Local Promote Basic as a free online listing service. The service will allow businesses to list themselves, or verify their business information is correct if Local.com already has a listing for them. Businesses will be able to post and update their contact information, including name, address, phone number and URL, along with a brief description of their products or services. To let businesses know about their offering, Local.com is using direct mail to reach out to prospective businesses for its free service.
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