Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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AT&T competing with Google for your searches. But don’t throw away your phonebook just yet.

October 1st, 2011 · No Comments · Social Commentary

AT&T competing with Google for your searches. I’ve been seeing more and more about it and have recently downloaded the YP.com mobile app. It stands for, no surprise “yellow pages” – though there’s a lot of them: The Real Yellow Pages, SuperPages (yuck), etc.

Perhaps, not too surprisingly, Google is getting into the phone business with the Android operating system and who knows maybe a network will follow, and AT&T is getting into the Search business.

AT&T has an advantage though in that they already have the network, sell cell phones and have 100 years of experience in the directories business. Don’t laugh by the way at print directories. They still have a 70 percent (that’s right) market share when it comes to the search business.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of AT&T’s play is selling advertising off cell phones. The logic is simple. Why pay third party vendors like Ad Mob to pay AT&T when AT&T has a cross platform already in place including mobile content and search in place. In fact it is the most robust platform in world for mobile.

For years I was on the (what ultimately turned out to be) bleeding edge of mobile content. And AT&T as part of it’s search play is building websites for customers that deliver highly (and increasingly) accurate analytics as well as automatically update mobile optimized versions of the desktop versions. Text 2, social media integration and other widgets make the tools in their multimedia suite of product enticing.
AT&T is making hard push into mobile marketing as well. In And mobile search is growing. 633% growth since 2009.

There is nobody browsing on the YP.com. If you want to know the name of a certain actor, see how a word is spelled or get obscure (and in many instances outdated) information you go to Google.

AT&T has the Buyers, Google definitely has browsers. Which is why the ROI and cost per customer is far better than Google. Their clicks (Adwords) are by far the most expensive advertising lead you can buy in competitive categories such as Attorneys or Doctors.

The strongest advertising product ever is the still the Yellow Pages. Try an experiment. Take out your phonebook, and take out your cell phone. Quick find 3 plumbers in 11223.

Another one of AT&T’s websites is Anywho.com which I’ve used quite a bit. Tommy Tutone could have used it to reconnect with Jenny, the subject of his song 8675309. Here’s a rare clip of Tommy Tutone from 1983 on the show “Fridays”.

AT&T Set to Compete With Google On Search.  But Don't Throw Away Your Phonebook Just Yet.

AT&T Set to Compete With Google On Search. But Don't Throw Away Your Phonebook Just Yet.

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