A US City firm has stated that speculation that Google may attempt to buy Yell in the UK is “plausible”. So a rumour then – whose validity is only really supported by the fact that Google and Yell are already co-operating and which it is only worth considering because of its sheer strategic significance.
If true, what would it mean? A coming together of the two organisations would definitely be in both interests. Yell owns the Yellow Pages print directories in the UK – as well as the online version Yell.com.
Until its partnership with Google, Yell was looking somewhat threatened by the search giant’s plans to expand local search where Yell has a virtual monopoly in the UK in local print directory search. Only Thomson competes seriously at this level tolerated by Yell mostly to avoid the wrath of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.
Equally, Yell’s online search directory lumbered to the market – only recently updating its search facilities to any kind of algorithmic form.
But Yell does have a very large database of UK advertisers and a system for electronically managing its ad database which could easily be used by Google in other sources. Google could also use Yell online, as another source of inventory for its Adwords network. There’s no doubt, a Yell acquisition would give Google a major foothold in the UK and make life tougher for its UK competition Yahoo, MSN and Ask Jeeves.
Is there any truth in the rumour? Time will tell. But the partnership already exists and Yell already feeds Google Local UK with data and UK advertisers who target regionally should, at very least, consider Yell in their advertising planning.