BellSouth Offers Search Services Division
LookSmart provides the back end for submitting listings to search engines. The service also includes listings on RealPages.com, BellSouth's online yellow pages destination. In addition, BellSouth offers a click-through guarantee depending on an advertiser's spending level.
"We've got a successful online yellow pages service," said David Rogers, a BellSouth spokesman. "This seemed a value-added piece we could provide for the same advertisers."
The search marketing service will target the 500,000 businesses in the Southeast that BellSouth already has advertising relationships with through its yellow pages business. BellSouth reports RealPages.com has drawn 160 million searches this year.
The search marketing service will operate as a division of BellSouth subsidiary Intelligent Media Ventures, which also operates RealPages.com. BellSouth also offers banner advertising on dozens of sites through its AdReach service.
As a regional player, BellSouth could capitalize on the growing interest by search giants Google and Yahoo in offering local search services. Yellow pages publishers have eyed the trend warily as a threat to their $25 billion market. Google and Yahoo subsidiary Overture Services have released test versions of local search engines.