Beefs Up Sales Force

There were a bunch of things I couldn't get to yesterday. One of those was's announcement:

Dynamic growth and a rising demand for more local-search advertising options have prompted YELLOWPAGES.COM a subsidiary of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) , to roll out an unprecedented coast-to-coast expansion of sales offices, the company announced today.

New YELLOWPAGES.COM sales offices have opened, or are scheduled to open, during the first half of the year in Seattle, Portland, Denver, Minneapolis, Virginia Beach and Richmond, Va.; Idaho, Iowa and New Mexico, while offices in Phoenix and Salt Lake City are planned for later in 2007. The new locations, which will serve as regional offices for hundreds of new sales professionals working with businesses to reach local consumers, join the list of current YELLOWPAGES.COM field offices in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Pa.; Henderson/Las Vegas, Nev.; and Charlotte, N.C.

Kate Kaye at ClickZ covers the news and provides a bit more context. As she mentions in the article, IAC's Citysearch has recently opened an Atlanta call center and is making a big sales push.

If I had to boil down success in "the local Internet" to two things they would be: the strength of the destination brand (user experience is a significant factor) and the efficacy of the sales channel(s) or partners. Using those criteria, is in a strong position. While the user experience is not as strong as it certainly could be,'s existing assets and multi-platform capabilities (including wireless, free directory assistance) make it a powerful competitor.

What I would do if I were is improve usability and overhaul the search results pages and interface (not the front door) and spend a boatload of money on consumer marketing, which they are, to establish the brand as a unified way into local content: print, Internet, mobile, voice.