Kelsey Group analyst Greg Sterling said the deal beefs up SuperPages' network with additional inventory and traffic. "That's something they've been concerned about--their early efforts didn't yield the same quality that they get from direct traffic," he said. "What SuperPages' problem has been is that they have advertisers who are hungry for more traffic, and that's why they built out this external distribution network."
SuperPages.com is pursuing deals with AOL and Ask.com, and also attempting to forge deals with MSN and Yahoo, said SuperPages.com President Eric Chandler.
Chandler said that the company was in talks with MSN relating to the company's adCenter keyword product, set to launch this summer; SuperPages.com listings already appear in MSN Local and Microsoft Virtual Earth.
Sterling said that similar deals between local directories and search engines are win-win situations for the advertisers, directories, and the engines themselves. "It gives more cache to [SuperPages'] external network," he said. "It enables the local advertiser to get into areas where they wouldn't otherwise, and it helps the search engine get access to revenue that they wouldn't normally--the stars are aligned for all these players right now, and that's why these deals work."
However, Sterling said, if local advertisers begin learning how to save money by going to the search engines directly, these deals could become less lucrative.