Greg Linden writes:
There’s millions of itty bitty little merchants, all appearing and disappearing rapidly. It’s hard to get accurate information on them. It’s expensive to manage the advertising accounts for them. Local search is hard to do right.
John [Battelle] is optimistic that local merchants would come to Yahoo or Google’s website to self-manage their information and advertising, but I doubt you could get anything like the coverage you need with a self-service model. Many of these merchants don’t even have a web site. They aren’t tech savvy.
The Yellow Pages has uses hundreds of sales people because it has to. They need to physically send salespeople out to talk to each merchant. Getting complete coverage requires a massive, expensive sales force. That’s why local search is hard.