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MediaNews Group Taps WebVisible for Local SEM by Greg Sterling

August 16, 2006

MediaNews Group, which bought some of the KnightRidder assets from McClatchy, becomes the third newspaper group to employ a “guaranteed clicks” geotargeted search program for the local market. Powered by WebVisible, which McClatchy is also using, the product is the essentially the same as what the yellow pages publishers have been selling for the past year or so.

Adoption rates and demand have been very good to excellent according to those whom I’ve spoken to.

Hearst (The Houston Chronicle) was the first newspaper to adopt such a program in the newspaper market, working with Marchex’s TrafficLeader.

Expect all the major newspapers to eventually do the same. Then you’ll have yellow pages and newspapers in all the major local markets competing with essentially the same product.

While these “guaranteed clicks” products — a simplified version of SEM, where campaign set up and fulfillment is managed by the third party vendor — have been easy to sell and easy for the local business to buy, delivering those clicks can be a challenge. Consumers looking for local information online is a huge phenomenon, but that traffic is fragmented across hundreds of sites – not always on search engines.

A more mature version of the “guaranteed clicks” product will be a budget-based sale (X dollars will get you Y clicks in this market; if you want more, pay Z). That will account for pricing variability by vertical category and geographic market. This budget based product already exists but is not a dominant as the “guaranteed clicks” product.

by Greg Sterling

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