More than 20 million searches were made in July on RealPages.com, BellSouth’s Internet Yellow Pages Web site.
The Atlanta-based Baby Bell also reported an 18 percent year-over-year increase in searches for local advertisers.
BellSouth’s milestone comes less than a month after rival Verizon’s SuperPages.com site launched its pay-for-calls ad service at the Search Engine Strategies show in San Jose, CA.
Using its technology, SuperPages.com’s print and online advertisers can choose to bid on pay for calls, a process which generates calls based on bidding for ads and modeled on the pay-per-click system.
In addition to pay for calls, SuperPages.com offers coupons, dinner reservations and new agreements with Martindale Hubbell, WhitePages.com, Psychology Today and About.com.
Telecom giants like Verizon and BellSouth have revved up their online Yellow Pages efforts as local search gains and pay-for-calls gain more currency with advertisers.
A recent report from Kelsey Group, for example, claims local search advertising will grow 24 percent each year through 2009. Also, the online share of total Yellow Pages advertising doubling in the next four years.
BellSouth has offered its RealSearch product to advertisers since the fall of 2003. The company lets advertisers buy “guaranteed clicks” yearly for a fixed monthly fee.
YellowPages.com LLC, a joint venture of BellSouth Advertising and Publishing Corp. and SBC Yellow Pages, operates RealPages.com.
Later this fall, YellowPages.com, SBC SmartPages.com and RealPages.com will shed their individual identities and operate under one name, the site at www.yellowpages.com.
Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters