Mark Canon at ILM:08– Up to $15 Billion Spent on Local Development

Yell Group President Mark Canon estimated during his opening keynote at Kelsey’s Interactive Local Media show in Santa Clara yesterday that anywhere from $3 Billion to $15 Billion has been spent in the past ten years trying to develop Interactive Local Media. “It is still not clear that we have cracked the code,” said Canon, the longtime industry pioneer who previously served stints at Switchboard, AOL Search and AutoByTel.

Much of the money has been spent chasing fallacies. There have been easy assumptions that we will understand our users better than in the past; that we will migrate our advertisers online without loss; that ILM will be more engaging and meaningful to users; and that we will use traditional media to drive online usage. 

“It is not true that it is more engaging, but it is useful,” he said. Ultimately, however, the Holy Grail hasn’t changed. “The combination of context and content is the underlying force” –even as content is being “atomized.” The next wave will bring more engagement as the hyperlink era ends. “Information is being brought up,” he notes. The next wave will also be less dependent on managing keywords, and that alone will invite more advertising. “ Keywords are very abstract for small businesses.”

In the past, Canon notes that we had “islands” like AOL. And then we moved to “archipelagos,” like Trip Advisor and even Google. Now we are moving into “Ecologies” marked by federated data and semantic context such as Facebook and Yelp.