Notes from keynote by Peter Horan, president, IAC Media and Advertising, Inc.
In the late 1990s, there was a lot of funding of locally focused sites, such as City Search and Sidewalk. There were projections for big revenue, but “to date, we haven’t gotten as much traction in local as we thought.â€?
To date, the local model has been to be brand-driven media. What’s happened over the past five years, especially with search, is the notion of intention-driven media.Â Today, people go to search, get a list of links and I’m on a mission. “I’m not in a casual surfing mode. I’m not browsing. I’m on missle lock trying to get something done. When I’m in that mode, I’m impatient and I want to be in control.
“We live and die in a five second window. A customer is sitting there waiting for the page to load with a finger on the back button.”
Successful web sites create value by organizing content and services. They give users a smooth click stream from the question to the answer.Â Brand aids in the process, but it doesn’t drive the process.
Web usage isn’t about reading. It’s about doing. The litmus test for local is usefulness.
Consumers want useful, interesting, actionable and accessible.Â Merchants want easy, predictable, affordable and comfortable.
A bad assumption that has driven local site business models is that people will change their behavior, that a merchant who has been buying yellow page ads for years, will suddenly change his advertising behavior just because its offered.Â “That’s scary to a small business.Â They’re risk averse. It’s not money coming out of the boss’s wallet. It’s their money.”
The three cornerstones of success:
- Relevance: Readers are on a mission looking for a complete solution that help them get the job done.
- Resonance: Readers shop for authorites who see the world the way they do â€¦ do these people look like me, act like me, like the places I like?
- Actionable: Readers want to act on information quickly.
A lot of business models today are predicated on the idea that everybody is going to create their own ads. That’s not going to happen.Â Newspapers and yellow pages have an advantage because of their large advertising forces.
Three things necessary for success:
- First, scale. You need enough traffic to pool readers around local merchants;
- Second, you’ve got to own something, either content or services, that bring people to your site;
- Third, you need an interesting product that readers will want to use.