Websites Fight Google for Local Ad Dollars

A group of websites are banding together to offer a $99-a-month local ad service to battle Google's increasingly local advertising. The websites, which include AOL, Yelp,  MapQuest, CityGrid and Yellowbook, all have local content and need local ad dollars to survive. They have partnered with Yext, which sells online advertising and reputation-management services, to provide their Yext Tags -- a small tag that adds information, deals or messages about a business across a dozen sites -- and Yext pockets about half the revenue from the $99 ad service.

Since this summer, Google has been charging businesses $25 a month to add a photo, coupons or menus to their Google search results and localized sites are worried they could lose rising local ad dollars. According to the WSJ:

Local businesses will spend about $13.6 billion on online ads this year. That could rise to $16 billion in 2011, according to research firm Borrell Associates Inc. The local online-ad market grew 2.3% from 2009 to 2010.

"I don't want to use the 'G' word, but there is a single large entity that starts with a 'G' and ends with an 'E' and has an 'oogl' in the middle," says Mike Wilson, vice president of digital at Yellowbook. "If you look at them as a sun, everything starts to gravitate around them. It really doesn't have to be like that from the advertisers' perspective."'

A Google representative could not be reached for comment by

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