All things Social-Local-Mobile are so hot at this moment that one would forget that local search has been existing for decades and decades. We used to call it Yellow Pages – and still do. Equity company Cerberus just paid AT&T close to a billion dollar for a majority stake in its Yellow Pages business. Hot or what?
On May 10 and 11 the European Association of Directory Publishers will hold its annual spring conference in Brussels. The programme of the two day Forum has just been completed – taken care of by yours truly. In the 17 years of putting together the EADP spring conferences, I have seen the transition from paper to online and mobile, and the transition from looking up in listings to social local search. And true, Yellow Pages still have too much the brand image of their paper businesses. And the transition has cost some big money in the balance sheets and a rapid replacement of CEOs.
But basically, they all still have an enormous asset, which is the access to merchants and small businesses, and the access to an audience that searches to buy, to spend money. And some publishers are succeeding well in moving into social-local-mobile, while others co-operate with newcomers and start-ups to do better what they always did: match a buyer with a seller.
And that truly is a marvellous business with so much more potential and functionalities than just an advertisment on yellow paper. And they love it, publishers, merchants and the searching public. Reviews, ratings, likes, friends, check-ins, conversations are the new ‘places’ where people who look for a purchase or a commendation or the solution to a problem find the merchant or the expert who sells or who fixes.
So, Turning Conversation into Conversion is the theme of the two day conference in Brussels on 10 and 11 May, full of industry views, experiences, figures, future visions, challenges. We’ll have publishers such as YPG Canada, European Directories, Truvo along social and search giants as Facebook and Microsoft Advertising. We’ll have a line-up of SoLoMo start-ups. And we’ll have engaged but independent expert analysis from Perry Evans, Neil Polachek and Gerry McGovern.
And we’ll have a strong real live experience from Rachel Brown, cupcake baker from the UK, telling about her experience with Yellow Pages ads, online ad campaigns and with her Groupon daily deal that got her almost bankrupt but also world famous in the UK.
Check out the programme, the networking, the venue and the participants, and I hope to see you at the Forum of the EASDP – indeed, the S for Search is being added to the industry association’s name. Sign of the times. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook.