Pay-Per-Click Debuts on SuperPages.com

A redesigned version of telco giant Verizon’s online yellow pages, SuperPages.com, went live Monday, featuring for the first time its own pay-per-click advertisers at the top of each page.

“We have done some early sales, and there has been terrific reception so far,” said Jim Palma, director of strategic planning for the seven-year-old company.

The new pay-per-click listings are the fruit of a partnershipwith paid search provider FindWhat.com , announced in December. With FindWhat.com’s technology and Verizon’s 2,600-member sales and customer service infrastructure, the nation’s largest telco hopes to boost ad revenue and increase its share of the local search market by getting the millions of small local businesses without Web presences online.

Streamlined and simplified, the redesigned site has additional new features such as a link to a map for each listing and 3 million business profiles.

“People like to know things about a business, like when it was established and so forth. This will be a one-page summary for the business. For those without a Web site, it’s a great way to have a presence. For those who do, it’s a good summary and provides a link to the site,” said Palma.

“The top three search results will be reserved for national businesses and the next three will be reserved for local. The next three or four spots after that will be reserved for advertisers who want to pay a fixed fee,” Palma said.

It’s easy to see why SuperPages.com would be attractive to advertisers. On average, 80 percent of consumers who visit SuperPages.com contact a business, and among those, 53 percent make a purchase, Palma said.

But there are obstacles, including the complexities of setting up and running an online campaign.

“We got a lot of feedback from small companies that are interested in pay-per-click but say it sounds confusing,” said Palma. “These guys can pay a small fee and go through it with our customer reps to get set up.”

Although SuperPages.com online business listings are syndicated to portals including MSN and InfoSpace, users of those sites will not see the pay-per-click ads currently. However, Verizon is in talks with some of its partners about delivering PPC ads, the company said in February.

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