Does the IYP/online business directory market share matter or has the battle already been decided? Has this category been relegated to just another niche search area where money can be made but market dominance is not possible?
A recent press release noted that www.local.com, ranked fifth in the Business Directories online industry category. This was based on the Hitwise analysis of market share of U.S. visits received at the internet yp sites in Q1, 2008. Greg Sterling at Screenwerks noted the other sites in the category as ranked by Hitwise in their results:
Business and Finance – Business Directories
I have small quibbles with these IYP comparisons. Maps.google.com has a tendency to be over counted due to its integrated mapping function and Yahoo tends to be undercounted due to the fact that it splits its local, yp and maps products into different urls. A resolution to this methodology issue is likely to move Yahoo local closer to first in this list but these are small details.
I see a much bigger problem in that it appears to me the battle for local business listings has already been won and not by the properties on the Hitwise list. These comparisons are simply measuring who has 1st, 2nd and perhaps third of the remaining, ever declining market share left to them by market leaders Google’s and Yahoo’s universal search results.
Here is my math….
The Google Main search results generate roughly 65 times the pageviews of Google Maps. If the Local Onebox is shown on 10% of all queries then Google’s market share in the IYP sector would be 650% greater than the number one spot on the list, Google Maps. If the calculation were based on visits as opposed to page view it would show Google’s share as less but still dominant.
If you factor in Yahoo’s 15% market share and a similar 10% display rate, their blended results for business directory results on their main search results would be 100% greater than the number one spot in the list. Thus 60% or more of business directory queries may be handled by the blended results of Google and Yahoo main search pages and their local internet products. That qualifies as market dominance in my book.
While these numbers are very rough estimates I think that my logic is basically sound and if anything the numbers are conservative. The actual number of queries which show the Local Onebox could be much higher, as high as 25%. This calculation even ignores Google Earth, the Plus Box, GOOG-411, GoogSMS and adwords serving as business directory proxies.
While the battle for business directory dominance on the desktop may have been decided, the battle is being fought again in the mobile arena. However even there Google and Yahoo apparently already have the basics of dominance at hand and seem to have an insurmountable market share lead in search that will define the outcome. The Nielson study noted that in the mobile market, “29 percent of Google users and 24 percent of Yahoo users were looking for local listings”.
Perhaps I am missing something here. What do you think?