Local Search Continues to Grow

comScore Networks just released new data on the growth of of the local search market.

According to the study, 63 percent of U.S. Internet users (or approximately 109 million people) performed a local search online in July, a 43-percent increase versus July of 2005. Google Sites (30 percent) and Yahoo! Sites (29 percent) garnered the largest share of local searches in July. Microsoft Sites captured 12 percent of local searches, followed by the Time Warner Network with 7 percent.

It’s interesting to note what people are searching for:

59% were searching for a restaurant or other entainment venues
52% were searching for business phone numbers

Even more interesting is that these local searchers take action:

47% visited a local merchant after searching
41% made contact offline
37% made contact online

Marissa Mayer’s Guide to Running Meetings

It’s been a few weeks since Google’s Marissa Mayer has been in the news, but never fear! Business Week comes to the rescue with a guide for running the perfect business meeting, Mayer-style.

Next week, they plan to have her share her recipe for delicious chocolate brownies. I can’t wait! ;-)

MySpace to Reach $15 Billion Valuation

CNET has a Wall Street analyst predicting social networking site MySpace could be worth $15 billion within 3 years.

Rohan said MySpace could demonstrate a value of between $10 billion and $20 billion within a few years. Acknowledging he was making an “audacious claim” he justified the forecast on the basis of MySpace’s “raw, unprecedented user/usage growth.”

Hat’s off to Rupert Murdoch – not a bad ROI for a $580 million acquisition.

Google’s Belgian Battle: Mountain or Molehill?

Business Week takes a look at what’s at stake in the battle between Google and Belgian publishers.

It’s an interesting read, especially when the publishers concede they’re getting a lot of traffic from Google then go on to use that as evidence the company needs to be stopped.

Since the Belgian court decision went into effect and Google dropped IPM publications, traffic to the company’s sites has dropped about 15%, le Hodey concedes. Yet that only strengthens his sense that Google should be checked before it gets even more powerful.

BW also gives us an explanation of what the Europeans are trying to create with their Robots.txt alternative.

…a set of sophisticated software “tags” readable by search engines’ Web crawlers that would automatically tell aggregators under what terms they can use editorial content.

New Tools and Look for Shopping.com

Just received word from the folks at Shopping.com that they’ve given the site a facelift and added some new features including:

“What’s Hot� – Shopping.com’s new “What’s Hot� homepage section provides shoppers with a quick overview of the hottest products across key categories. “What’s Hot� products and categories are selected by Shopping.com’s experts each month.

“Shop by Brand� – Shopping.com understands that everyone has a favorite brand – whether for running shoes, shampoo or blue jeans. Its new “Shop by Brand� section provides shoppers one-click access to complete, well-organized virtual stores for nearly all their favorite makers.

DMA Announces SEO SEM Certification

Nothing quite replaces experience and reputation when it comes to search engine marketing, but not everyone can make that claim. For those that either need some help learning about search or perhaps need some credibility assistance, the DMA has launched a certification program.

Lee Odden has the details.

PressFeed Brings RSS to Any Web Content

While at SES in San Jose, one booth caught my attention and it belonged to PressFeed. It wasn’t the actual booth that caught my eye, but the promise of what PressFeed offers.

The company offers a service that allows anyone to quickly convert any web content to RSS. It’s a great opportunity for companies looking at ways of syndicating their content without having to start a blog or hire a developer.

Now there’s no excuse for not syndicating your press releases or new product additions.